African American Groups Seek Ouster of California NAACP Head for Stance on Legalized Marijuana

Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2010

More than 20 African American religious and community leaders called Wednesday for Alice Huffman to resign as president of the California State Conference of the NAACP after she and her organization endorsed a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in the state.

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“Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?” Allen [Bishop Ron Allen of the International Faith-Based Coalition] said at a Capitol news conference. “It’s going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies.”

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“Prop. 19 is about eliminating enforcement practices that are targeting and creating a permanent underclass of citizens, of African Americans, caught in a criminal justice system while other people, a more privileged class, go free,” Huffman said.

She cited a recent report by the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports legalization of marijuana. African Americans represent less than 7% of the population but 22% of marijuana arrests, according to Stephen Gutwillig, state director of the alliance.

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“It seems to me that you and the California NAACP are as right as you can be,” [said a statement from Julian Bond, former chairman of the national NAACP]. “The war on drugs is an absolute failure. It targets black people.”

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[An earlier story on the California NAACP’s endorsement of legalizing marijuna can be read here.]

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