What the NAACP should be doing: supporting California’s Proposition 19 (h/t The Daily Dish via Reason) since the criminalization of marijuana usage leads to disproportionate arrests among people of color.
“We are joining a growing number of medical professionals, labor organizations, law enforcement authorities, local municipalities, and approximately 56 percent of the public, in saying that it is time to decriminalize the use of marijuana,” state NAACP President Alice Huffman said in a news release Monday. “There is a strong racial component that must be considered when we investigate how the marijuana laws are applied to people of color.”
The disproportionate incarceration replaced by targeted treatment for problem users also has positive public societal effects.
But in its 2009 World Drug Report, the UN had little but kind words for Portugal’s radical (by U.S. standards) approach. “These conditions keep drugs out of the hands of those who would avoid them under a system of full prohibition, while encouraging treatment, rather than incarceration, for users. Among those who would not welcome a summons from a police officer are tourists, and, as a result, Portugal’s policy has reportedly not led to an increase in drug tourism,” reads the report. “It also appears that a number of drug-related problems have decreased.”