NAACP calls for feds to respect states’ marijuana laws



WHEREAS, as a result of the “War on Drugs” and mandatory minimum sentences imposed largely at the federal level, the prison population has exploded in the past few decades; and

WHEREAS, one crucial result of these misguided and misplaced policies has been the disproportionate over-confinement of racial and ethnic minorities: more than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities; and

WHEREAS, two-thirds of all persons in prison today for drug offenses are people of color; and

WHEREAS, more than 700,000 people annually are arrested in the United States for the possession of marijuana; and

WHEREAS, even though numerous studies demonstrate that whites and African Americans use and sell marijuana at relatively the same rates, studies also demonstrate that African Americans are, on average, almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some jurisdictions Blacks are 30 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites; and

WHEREAS, there are also extreme economic consequences to the present day enforcement of marijuana laws; nationally, states spent an estimated $3.61 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010 alone; money that could be spent on education, job training, and other valuable services; and

WHEREAS, several states throughout the U.S. have departed from current federal law to develop more well-tailored and effective guidelines and sentencing ranges for small, low-level marijuana use which are moderating some of the more extreme federal policies and their repercussions; and

WHEREAS, these state laws are at times at odds with federal laws; and

WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in the 113th Congress, H.R. 1523, with strong bipartisan support, which would prohibit the federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states which have lesser penalties.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports H.R. 1523 and encourages its swift enactment; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP Washington Bureau shall contact Members of the Congress and urge the swift enactment of H.R. 1523.

H.R. 1523 is the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013.

It amends the Controlled Substances Act to provide that provisions of such Act related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with state laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

Congress needs to listen to the NAACP on this.

According to Tom Angell, of The Marijuana Majority:

“For obvious historical reasons, many civil rights leaders who agree with us about the harms of marijuana prohibition still remain reluctant to see the states chart their own courses out of the failed ‘war on drugs.’ Having the NAACP’s support for a states’ rights approach to marijuana reform is going to have a huge impact and will provide comfort and cover to politicians and prominent people who want to see prohibition end but who are a little skittish about states getting too far ahead of the feds on this issue.”

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29 Responses to NAACP calls for feds to respect states’ marijuana laws

  1. allan says:

    Can I get a thud? I say “can I get a thud?


    Thank ya Jesus… and can I get an Amen?

    Amen and hallelujah!

  2. divadab says:

    Wow – the NAACP supporting States’ rights. This is a historic point in their thinking, as almost all their previous advances have been based on federal override of States’ racist laws – school integration, for example.

    Let’s see if President Obama has the guts to support this initiative.

    • Windy says:

      “Let’s see if President Obama has the guts to support this initiative.”

      Don’t hold your breath.

  3. Howard says:

    I know what Tom is saying here;

    “Having the NAACP’s support for a states’ rights approach to marijuana reform is going to have a huge impact and will provide comfort and cover to politicians and prominent people who want to see prohibition end but who are a little skittish about states getting too far ahead of the feds on this issue.”

    But honestly, I have zero interest in providing ANY “comfort and cover” to politicians and so-called prominent people who have been the enemy for so long. That said, maybe the THUD Allan mentions above is not so far off after all. Mr. Kleiman predicts nationwide legalization in five years. Hopefully he’s at least somewhat on target about that;

    • darkcycle says:

      Well, in that I think he may be right. Of course, that will be after every other prediction he’s made about the effects of legal cannabis has been proved wrong.

    • Tony Aroma says:

      You may not be interested in providing them comfort and cover, but politicians don’t do anything without it. So even though they don’t deserve it, it’s probably the only way any of them will actually do anything even somewhat controversial. You don’t actually think most politicians would do anything risky or that they perceive (right or wrong) to be political suicide, do you?

      • Howard says:

        The time is fast approaching when it will be risky and politically suicidal NOT to support marijuana law reform. I’d say that time is already here. But most members of the coddled political class are too cowardly to admit it. That’s why you often hear that politicians are behind the public on many issues. Marijuana law reform is at the top of that list of issues.

  4. N.T. Greene says:

    Well, we’re no longer just banging on the wall, we’re taking out huge chunks as time passes.

    I feel reasonably certain that if this were to pass, we would see almost immediate action in the legislatures of some states.

    (I would hope that MA would dust off its own bill that was consigned to study thanks to the conflicts with federal law. If they were resolved… the worst case scenario is that it goes to the ballot where we would likely pass it with 60+% approval.)

    • allan says:

      indeed… there’s still a significant voter cohort that continues to believe if the feds say it’s illegal and dangerous… but the lies are coming apart like a rotting onion, layer after slimy layer.

      It’s unfortunate that black Americans ended up taking more than their fair share of the civil brutality of the WOD. I’m glad to see the NAACP stepping up and out.

      And thanks to EZ for pointing to Neill’s and Howard’s involvement. LEAP (and COPS) are hitting their stride, they are getting massive amounts of media time. And I have a firm belief that the LEAPsters will be a force above and beyond anything on the prohib’s side. Kinda like having Bruce Lee AND Tony Jaa.

      Now if those NFL players would grow some and stand up and flip their collective bird… and Hollywood… where tf are they? That town sucks up a lot o’ pot (and virtually every other intoxicant).

      We’re the ones fighting for truth, justice and the human way. The prohibs be the bad guys. Pretty simple. Reality, not concept.

      The best part of this long struggle for me is that it has been such an anarchic collective effort. So many people have taken part… persistence. Zen activism at it’s best.

      Had a chuckle the other a.m…. I sleep less these days so I stay up way late once in a while. The other night I caught a Seahunt episode (2 a.m.) with Leonard Nimoy playing a Latin “revolutionary.” The political and cultural stereotyping was so obvious, it was kinda quaint. Followed that up w/ an episode of America’s favorite TV family, the Addams. Gomez and Morticia were quite the pair.

    • darkcycle says:

      The wall is looking like so many scattered piles of rubble.

  5. claygooding says:

    It makes sense for the NAACP to support this states rights issue because every state that decriminalizes or legalizes saves that many more Blacks from being arrested for marijuana possession because a police officer thought he smelled marijuana on their clothes or in their hair.
    I hate to say it but I think the most dangerous place to smoke a joint is going to be in your car the way these prohibs are dancing around the campfire on impaired driving.

    • divadab says:

      Good point – hence the per se 5 nanogram impairment rule in WA under I-502. I mean, who wants a DUI, especially if they are NOT impaired except by legislative fiat?

  6. primus says:

    California has 10% of the country’s population, so if re-legalisation passes by 60/40 then 6% of the voters in the country will have said yes. As the states add up, there will come a point where the cumulative total of all ‘yes’ voters in all the states where such a vote has been taken, will be over 50% of the population. What then?

  7. DdC says:

    I was fortunate enough to share a bowl with Ed and Jack Herer in the 90’s at our local Hemp festival. Jack was selling these pipes you packed for 10 minutes with some cyclonic action whirling out the particulates. I didn’t know Ed had such a long History at the time. This latest review sounded familiar. The bud has been around since the early 70’s at least…

    Cannabis Encyclopedia strain review: Durban Poison
    via @tokeofthetown
    Want to know more about the herb you’re smoking? So do we, so we’ve asked Ry Prichard – a fellow Colorado cannabis nerd, grower, photographer and founder of the Cannabis Encyclopedia project which aims to create a central database on cannabis strain information – to help school us all, strain-wise. This week? Durban Poison.

    Durban Poison.jpg

    Lineage: South African Sativa worked line

    Type: Sativa-dominant

    Overview: One of the building blocks of the modern cannabis genetic pool, Durban Poison has been passed through the hands of some of the most influential breeders and researchers of our time, yet remains a super-popular medical variety to this day.

    Durban Poison’s history goes all the way back to the late 1970’s in South Africa, where a young Ed Rosenthal was on the hunt for new genetics. The variety that he found was one of the earliest-finishing plants in the area (known for its equatorial Sativas), and he took home a variety of seeds from this locally cultivated genetic pool. Upon starting the seeds at home in the US, there was a fairly wide variety of expressions and flowering times, so Ed began the process of choosing his favorites and inbreeding the line to best bring out those characteristics. continued…

    30 days in the hole

    If you live on the road, well there’s a new highway code
    You take the urban noise with some Durban Poison
    It’s gonna lessen your load

    30 days in the hole by Humble Pie 1972

    • darkcycle says:

      Yup. First Durban Poison I remember having was 1980ish.

    • Tony Aroma says:

      Wow! I’ve listened to that song a million times and never know what they were saying.

      • DdC says:

        Yea, me too Tony. I thought New Castle brown was from New Castle Pennsylvania. Spent an afternoon there once asking people if they’ve ever heard of it. I spent half of the 70’s looking for Pelicule, Grace Slick said if we’d go smoking it, it would give us the call. Wasn’t sure what that meant but it sounded cool. After the internet lyric sites, it turns out she said Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call.

        Never heard of the “brown acid” outside of Woodstock albums but I did find some conglomeration of chemicals called chocolate mescaline that was a 3 hour laugh.a.thon. Traffic lights were funny. Rain was funny. Probably not a bit good for ya but it did fill in for a lack of comedy clubs until Carlin and Pryor. When I was into Humble Pie I thought Durban Poison was Irish Heroin. It took a while to cut through an upbringing on the red side of the tracks.

  8. Tim says:

    BTW, if you’re near a TV, Don Lemon is handing Sabet his ass right now.

    • claygooding says:

      Watching Kev get his ass handed to him on CNN,,the CNN reporter is tearing him up but he missed a good chance at proving an outright lie,,Kev claimed pot and alcohol has the same addiction level according to NIH,,last time I checked they had alcohol at 25 and cannabis was 7,,that is not even close to the same.

      Kev looked lost at the end. As soon as this hits youtube it will go viral.

      • DdC says:

        Sabet makes me nauseous, requiring more tokes to compensate. I should send him a bill. Making someone sick is a crime. Invoke the Typhoid Mary laws on him…

        Alcohol lobbyists upset with marijuana activists’ characterization of booze
        By William Breathes in News, Say what? November 8, 2013

        Marijuana is safer than alcohol. It’s a simple message based in a lot of truths. But Big Alcohol doesn’t like that, nor do they like the insinuation that their legal product leads to more violence, health issues and social problems than cannabis.

        We’re not against legalization of marijuana, we just don’t want to be vilified in the process,” an anonymous alcohol lobbyist tells the National Journal this week. “We don’t want alcohol to be thrown under the bus, and we’re going to fight to defend our industry when we are demonized.” More >>

        “We kill your liver!”.jpg

        Here comes Haliburton Asbestos, Monsatan’s alphabet soup of DDT, PCB, GMO, Agent Orange and new diet Green for Colombia ads. For the kids and fat people, Aspartame and Saccharin. How about the bad press Thalidomide got? Clinton tried to level the playing field bringing it back as an appetite stimulant when AIDs patients discovered Ganja gave them the munchies. The chemical corporations are still hiding in the shadows from media scrutiny. Scape-goating the tobacco plant and not Reagan’s flame retardants and burn enhancers added for your smoking pleasure. (Not in Ganja) Just look what they did to Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man’s careers. Po thangs. Another drug war twilight zone episode where the cancer cells organize and protest the mass annihilation in certain portions of their species. Purposely murdering indiscriminately with chemo poisons and radiation. Now that this cannabis has been re discovered. Cancer cells are being terrorized with flashbacks of the days before the gods Anslinger, Hearst, Mellon and Rockefeller gave them their freedom to prosper, for profits. Typical lopsided bartering lately ending in appeasers compromises. 90/10 whatever just don’t deal with reality. If booze throughout history has produced actually real people victims and cannabis hasn’t with an even longer history of use. How can this sappy syrupy lets be friends kumbia say its all the same… Doormat Peace gets no respect. Let the laws of physics and cannabotanists, entrepreneurs and consumers determine the future of Ganja. Trade the non violent drug offenders incarcerated, with the lying sack’s of sabet cancer promoting drug worriers.

      • N.T. Greene says:

        I cannot find it on YT. If someone knows where it is, can they provide a link?

        I swear, Kevin Sabet seems ready and willing to take a beating wherever he goes. It’s getting to the point where it is almost boring, and some interviewers are getting complacent when it comes to dealing with him. I mean, I can tell you just based on cadence and speech patterns that he is (likely) spitting untruths, and (likely) knows it. Like so many others before him, history is preparing to leave him behind with no recognition beyond “this approach is incorrect”.

        I sort of believe that he knows it, too. His march is a forced one, and he can see the precipice quite clearly now. If he reneges on his hardline stance, his career in the public eye is essentially over (if not entirely)… however, if he fights to the bitter, bitter end (which is not that far off now), he can at least get -perhaps- a few more years of paychecks, a nice office somewhere, and the grim satisfaction that comes to some who willingly and ardently fight against progress.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          It’s an important distinction because if Kev-Kev knows the difference between right and wrong he won’t be able to plead not guilty because of mental disease or defect. Now no one is going to argue that he has no mental disease or defect so if he doesn’t understand the difference between right and wrong he could get acquitted and sent to the loony bin.

          P.S. don’t forget that Kev-Kev is an idiot savant and child prodigy in his particular “discipline.” Oh wait, there got to be a better word than “discipline.” I’ll revisit this one later.

  9. claygooding says:

    After going to NIH I could not find the addiction chart anymore,,they probably removed it because it showed just how tame pot was compared to tobacco and alcohol.

    • allan says:

      wikipedia has an abbreviated version:

      but you are absolutely right, I can’t find it either. I did learn that there are several competing scales, the NIH addiction potential scale (which replaced the Alcohol/Drug Problem Proneness Scale), the Alcohol/Drug Acknowledgement Scale (ACK), and the MacAndrew Alcoholism Scale – Revised (MAC-R).

      At this link there is a PDF file at the top of the right hand column, Alcohol/Drug Acknowledgement Scale / Alcohol/Drug Problem Proneness Scale / MacAndrew Alcoholism Scale that my old Mac wouldn’t open if you want to look.

  10. Duncan20903 says:


    I’ve got to say that I find it most disturbing that the release date for Cheech & Chong’s first movie in 29 years came and went without my notice. March 18th no less. I may actually be spending too much time in my cave.

  11. Jeff Trigg says:

    Not enough. The NAACP needs to tell their members to stop voting for anyone, Democrat or Republican, who will not fight to end this insane drug war on Americans. Not to just stop voting for Democrat drug war profiteers and typical Republicans, but to stop voting for anyone who will not fight to end this racist drug war.

  12. Windy says:

    From my facebook page:
    The SETH group wrote:
    “Politicians consistently oppose the legalization of marijuana in spite of increasing public support. What it’s going to take to change their minds is hearing from constituents, the people who elected them. So write an OpEd for your local paper and mention your representative by name, encourage them to join the new majority and support the legalization of marijuana. Contact their offices and assure them of your support should they choose to do the right thing.”
    about this article:

    I cannot pledge my support to statist politicians who claim to represent me but don’t represent anyone but themselves, even if they move the right direction on this issue, because they will still be taking away my freedom with their next vote. I think it is more effective to tell them you will actively work AGAINST them in their next election campaign if they DO NOT support relegalization of cannabis and hemp, and also work toward ending the criminalization of all drugs.

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