In light of Amendment 64 that is up for a vote in Colorado, everyone has an opinion concerning whether marijuana should or should not be legalized. The National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is endorsing the passage of this amendment because a disproportionate number of arrests for marijuana in Colorado involve those of African American heritage. The Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA) opposes such a measure because such legalization will purportedly result in increased use of the drug – especially by teenagers.
If the NAACP is correct about a disproportionate number of blacks being arrested for possession of marijuana, this is a matter that at least deserves study. The NAACP believes that such individuals are targeted for arrest. According to their statistics, blacks that make up 4 percent of the Colorado population are arrested 22 percent of the time for marijuana related charges. In Denver, it is estimated that 31 percent of such arrests involve the African American population.
The CDIA cites research showing that teen addiction to marijuana has risen by as much as 200 percent since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado. Also, certain sources claim that most marijuana arrests were the result of police being called concerning some other matter (such as a domestic disturbance), and then marijuana was discovered.
It’s not our business to support or oppose Amendment 64. It is our business as lawyers to make certain that anyone arrested and charged for drug possession and other offenses receive adequate representation and have a chance to tell their side of the story.
If individuals arrested are targeted, attorneys should be there to make certain that the law is applied equally. If the individuals arrested are youth, attorneys can provide such youth with the advice they badly need.
Source: CBS Denver, “NAACP Supports Legalization of Marijuana In Colorado,” August 23, 2012