SACRAMENTO, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, was endorsed Thursday by the National Black Police Association.
The group, like the California chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said drug laws disproportionately target blacks, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ron Hampton, a retired Washington officer who heads the police group, said money going to enforce drug laws could be better spent improving social conditions.
Neill Franklin, a veteran black police officer who heads Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke at a conference organized by the association Thursday in Sacramento.
"I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact these misguided marijuana laws have on our communities and neighborhoods," he said.
The Drug Policy Association says 22 percent of those arrested for marijuana in California are black, although African-Americans are only 7 percent of the state's population.
Proposition 19 would allow people over 21 to grow marijuana and possess up to an ounce legally.