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Latino Voters League, National Black Police Officers Latest Groups To Endorse California Marijuana Legalization Measure

Representatives from the Latino Voters League (LVL) and the National Black Police Association have given formal endorsements of Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative of 2010. If passed, the measure would legalize the private adult possession and cultivation of marijuana, and allow local government the option to regulate the plant’s commercial production and sale. “The so called 'war on drugs' has been a gigantic failure, and approving Proposition 19 in November in California will hasten its demise,” Antonio Gonzalez, coordinator of the Latino Voters League (LVL), announced at an August 13 press conference. “[A]pproving Proposition 19 will strike a blow to violent gangs and Mexican cartels that prey on our communities by removing their profit incentive. Parents worried about drug use today among their teenage children should support Proposition 19 because it will reduce the availability of cannabis among underage persons by controlling it and regulating it in the same way alcohol is controlled.” The LVL is a “nonpartisan organization dedicated to mobilizing Latino voters around progressive issues.” Last week, at its national conference in Sacramento, The National Black Police Association also endorsed the measure. The National Black Police Association has some 15,000 members nationwide. “[Passage of Prop. 19] means that we will be locking up less African American men and women and children who are using drugs,” the group's Executive Director Ron Hampton said. “[Under the present policy,] blacks go to jail more than whites for doing the same thing.” According to a report published in July, African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession offenses in California's 25 largest counties at more than twice the rate of Caucasians. The California state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had previously expressed its “unconditional support” for Prop. 19. California voters will decide on the measure this November. According to the most recently released statewide poll on the measure, 50 percent of Californians support Prop. 19 while 40 percent oppose it.