The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) passed a resolution Tuesday calling for an end to the â€œWar on Drugsâ€ during their 102th NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles, CA.
â€œToday the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,â€ said NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous. â€œThese flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.â€
The resolution, titled â€œA Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrowâ€ highlighted the fact that the United States spends $40 billion each year fighting the drug war and that African-Americans are 13 times more likely to end up in jail for drug-related crimes than their white counterparts. […]
The NAACP is now calling for drug treatment rather than jail time for offenders. […]
Once the NAACP board of directors ratifies the resolution in October, the NAACP and its chapters will mobilize to begin campaigning and fighting against the â€œWar on Drugs.â€
Update: Via Jacob Sullum
Rooks says the full text of the resolution will be available after the NAACP’s national board approves it in October. He says the resolution supports needle exchange programs, condemns mandatory minimum sentences, and criticizes Byrne law enforcement grants, a program supported by President Obama that has fueled the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and funded the regional anti-drug task forces behind racially tinged law enforcement scandals in places such as Tulia, Texas. But in general, Rooks says, the resolution “is not a policy document”; instead it outlines “principles and ideas” that should guide “our units” in adopting specific positions. Among those principles: “that those who are arrested for drug offenses not be sent to prisonâ€”that’s explicit.” Rooks says the resolution does not distinguish between users and suppliers in that respect, but neither does it call for legalization. “In terms of decriminalization or legalization,” he says, “we did not get into those discussions.”
I’m quite happy with an NAACP resolution that explicitly states that those arrested for drug offenses should not be sent to prison. That’s a huge step.