|Photo: Philly NORML|
|Neill Franklin, LEAP: “Californians finally have an opportunity to do something about it”|
A national group of African-American law enforcement officers has endorsed Proposition 19, the measure on this November’s ballot that would tax and regulate marijuana in California.
The National Black Police Association (NBPA), with more than two dozen chapters across the United States, announced the endorsement in Sacramento, where the organization is holding a national conference, reports Jesse McKinley at The New York Times.
“Prohibition takes a toll on people of color across the country,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), which supports Prop 19.
“When I was a cop in Baltimore, and even before then when I was growing up there, I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact these misguided marijuana laws have on our communities and neighborhoods,” Franklin said.
“This November, with the National Black Police Association’s help, Californians finally have an opportunity to do something about it by approving the initiative to control and tax marijuana,” said Franklin, a 33-year veteran police officer.
Many cops and civil rights leaders are now speaking out against marijuana prohibition because it is not only ineffective at reducing marijuana use and results in the arrest and incarceration of people of color at a highly disproportionate rate, but also because making marijuana illegal has created a lucrative black market controlled by violent gangs and cartels.
“This is great news,” said Michael Whitney at Firedoglake. “The National Black Police Association joins the California chapter of the NAACP in endorsing Prop 19, in addition to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and doazens of current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement professionals.”
Prop 19 would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults, as well as a 25-square-foot growing area for cannabis cultivation.
The NBPA was founded in 1972 and is currently holding its 38th national conference. According to NBPA, there are 80,000 black law enforcement officials in the United States.