California's three ACLU affiliates announced today they are backing Prop 19, the statewide initiative to legalize pot for those 21 and older. The measure will be on the ballot in November.
"Enforcement of marijuana prohibition consumes a great deal of California's law enforcement and court system resources, and has a disproportionate impact on communities of color," the ACLU said in a press release.
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It should be interesting to watch interest groups lining up for and against. DAs, cops and clergy will line up against.
The ACLU probably doesn't bring into the fold new supporters, as anyone persuaded by the ACLU's endorsement is probably pro-Prop 19 already. The ACLU hasn't always had it easy in the political sphere, ever since Michael Dukakis declared himself a "card-carrying" member and then got badly beaten in the 1988 presidential election. (Though in fairness to the ACLU, it was probably Willie Horton and the shot of Dukakis wearing the tank helmet that did him in.)
The ACLU makes the case that current marijuana policy results in racial profiling, citing a report by the Drug Policy Alliance that shows that California African-Americans are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, while whites are more likely to actually smoke bud. Huh.
We traded phone calls with the ACLU today but never connected. Hopefully we'll connect on Friday -- isn't there a movie called "Friday"? -- and have more for you....