NAACP Supports Cannabis Legalization in Nevada
December 29th, 2014
Policy, Top News
There’s little doubt that marijuana arrests are skewed toward the African-American population. According to a 2013 study by the ACLU, Washington D.C. possession arrests jumped more than 60% between 2001 and 2010 with 9-out-of-10 arrests being African-American individuals. Actual marijuana usage between Caucasian and African-Americans were similar, suggesting that profiling was the cause of the trend.
Not surprisingly, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) expressed its support for cannabis legalization in Nevada. Jeffery Blanck, President of the Reno-Sparks chapter, sent a letter to legislators urging them to legalize recreational use of marijuana in the 2015 session. Since enough signatures have already been collected, lawmakers have the first 40 days of 2015 to legalize it.
If the efforts are unsuccessful, the proposition will be placed on the 2016 General Election ballot where voters will have the chance to decide for themselves. The move would add Nevada to a growing list of states that have approved the drug for recreational use, including Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. – although it’s unclear whether D.C. will allow it.
The NAACP believes that African-Americans are unfairly targeted in marijuana arrests. In Nevada, the state already spends almost $40 million per year with the number of arrests increasing 96% over the past 10 years, placing it in the top 10 states in terms of time and money spent on enforcing marijuana possession. These resources could be better placed fighting more serious crime in the state.
So far, polls in Nevada have shown strong support for legalization on the 2016 ballot, and if a strong campaign is introduced, it’s likely that the state could become the next where cannabis is legalized for recreational use.
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