The federal government's cold stance toward medical marijuana and recreational legalization has created the strangest bedfellows ever.
The NAACP, the nation's preeminent civil rights organization for African Americans, announced that it's backing a bill by Southern California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher that would provide protection from federal prosecutors for those "acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marijuana."
In other words, Rohrabacher wants to defang the federal government's "Schedule I" outlaw status for weed so that medical and recreational users and sellers in states where that's legal aren't ensnared by feds.
The group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition states:
The bill is necessary because a majority of Americans now live in states with marijuana laws that conflict with the federal government's outright ban of the drug.
Communities of color have been among the most impacted by marijuana laws. A recent study revealed that despite comparable rates of use, black people are almost four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. More than 700,000 people are arrested for marijuana every year.
Strange, then, to see the NAACP and O.C.'s Rohrabacher in bed together, since he's such a known racist, a man our friend at OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano, has labeled a straight
Here's Rohrabacher on Real Time with Bill Maher last year:
Go to your local schools and find 25% of your kids being illegal aliens, and having, and bringing down the education level of everybody else; having our health care being drained of resources, when we can't even take care of our own; yeah, go ahead and vote for liberals! Go ahead and vote for liberals if you want to give education, health care, and money to people who come here illegally!
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In any case, the decriminalization crowd will take its friends where it can get them. LEAP's executive director, Neill Franklin, a former cop, says:
The war on marijuana has long been a war on people of color. It destroys families. It destroys lives. It empowers the criminal gangs who grow rich on its sale. All this bill does is allow states to determine their own policies on marijuana so that they can begin to heal the divisions between police and the communities they serve.