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Minister miffed at NAACP pot prop blessing

June 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM

SACRAMENTO, June 29 (UPI) -- At least one clergyman says he is irked the California chapter of the NAACP has endorsed a state ballot measure that would legalize the use of marijuana.

Ron Allen, president of the International Faith-Based Coalition, says he believes the majority of African-American ministers in California are against the idea.

"If anyone should know the effects of illicit drugs in the black community, it should be one of our most respected civil rights organizations," Allen, a bishop in the Greater Solomon Temple Community Church in Oak Park, told the Sacramento Bee.

The California State Conference of the NAACP held a news conference Tuesday to voice its support for Proposition 19, which would basically allow people to smoke pot for recreational purposes. California currently allows the use of so-called medical marijuana.

The Bee said the civil rights group sees legalization as a means of cutting the arrest rate for young black people.

"There is a strong racial component that must be considered when we investigate how marijuana laws are applied to people of color," state NAACP President Alice Huffman said. "The burden has fallen disproportionately on people of color and young black men in particular."

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