Calif. Pot Battle Splits Black Community

NAACP for Prop 19, many black pastors against it
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2010 3:25 AM CDT
President of NAACP of California Alice Huffman's support for Proposition 19 has angered many black pastors in California.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The president of the California NAACP vocally supports Proposition 19, and many of the state's black religious leaders oppose it just as vocally. As the ballot measure to tax and regulate marijuana grows closer, both sides are increasingly viewing black voters as the swing bloc that will determine the proposition's fate. With the measure trailing slightly in polls, support is currently lower among black (40% for, 52% against) than white (48% for, 43% against) voters.

Prop 19 supporters emphasize the disproportionate burden African-American men bear in marijuana arrests. “I’m not encouraging anyone to recreationally use marijuana,” NAACP head Alice Huffman tells the New York Times. “I am simply focused on the injustice and the disparities in the criminal justice system.” But opponents say legalization could increase use of the drug. “How stupid to think that by legalizing a vice it’s going to help the situation,” a Sacramento pastor said. “This is not a game. A whole generation is at stake.”

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