California NAACP supports ballot for pot legalization
The California NAACP is taking some heat for backing the ballot proposition for marijuana legalization in California. It appears that billionaire investor George Soros is the hand behind the scene here. Not only is he a well known supporter of marijuana legalization, but according to the NAACP’s critics, he appears to have made a financial contribution to the NAACP in exchange for its support on the measure,
Although I’m unsure of my own feelings around this issue (I lean against legalizing), I don’t have a problem with the NAACP taking a position on this matter assuming that it’s one arrived at independent of outside influence. Unfortunately, it’s not an infrequent occurrence that African-American support is purchased to give an agenda formed by someone else a veneer of “diversity”, which may very well be the case here. So rather than actually shaping the debate, black folks are frequently positioned to appear in a “photo op” to rubber stamp what someone else has decided. The fact that we’re part of someone else’s agenda rather than having one of our own that we’re actively executing on is where my problem begins and ends in this situation. This is an issue regardless of where we fall in the political spectrum.
With all the mayhem and violence the drug trade has caused in the African-American community, we really need to be shaping this discussion whether it revolves around interdiction, money laundering, or legalization. As it is, we’re positioned for a seat at the table only after someone else has already set it. That’s really not the position to be in if you’re holding yourself out as being among those who have the community’s interests at heart.
Calif NAACP chief criticized for backing pot prop.
By BROOKE DONALD – Associated Press Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. The president of the NAACP’s California chapter said Wednesday she will not falter in her support of an initiative to legalize marijuana despite criticism from some religious leaders who have called on her to resign her post at the civil rights organization.
Alice Huffman said she would not step down and reasserted her position that Proposition 19 would be a good first step in reforming marijuana laws.
“The issue of Prop. 19 is not about me,” Huffman said in a conference call with reporters. “Prop. 19 is about eliminating enforcement practices that are targeting and creating a permanent underclass … of African-Americans.”
She cited statistics she said showed the arrest rate among blacks for low-level marijuana crimes far exceed those of whites in the state’s largest counties.
Huffman’s remarks came in response to criticism from Sacramento preacher Ron Allen and members of his International Faith-Based Coalition who oppose the proposition.
The November ballot initiative would let adults possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Residents could legally grow small marijuana gardens, and individual cities and counties would decide whether to allow marijuana sales.
Earlier Wednesday, Allen held a news conference at the state Capitol calling on Huffman to resign and blasting the state chapter for endorsing the initiative.
Allen says the NAACP’s support of Prop. 19 disregards the harm illicit drugs cause to the black community. He also accused Huffman of backing the initiative because of alleged financial ties to the marijuana lobby.
Allen said in a July 1 news release that Huffman was “bought and paid for by the highest bidder,” billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who has bankrolled medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization measures across the country.
Huffman denied the accusation but said she would not turn down Soros’ money if offered.
“I would not reject his money because I think he puts his money into progressive causes,” she said. “We do not have one penny of Soros’ money in this endeavor. I saw that charge before, and I think it’s a ludicrous charge.”
Huffman said the national NAACP has accepted contributions from Soros but the money was not for drug policy work.