Did you know that African Americans in Baltimore are five times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than people of other races, and marijuana is the most common drug possessed? To learn more and help be part of the solution, don’t miss this upcoming special event entitled Legalizing Marijuana: The Impact on Racial Justice in Baltimore City, organized by the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition.
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
101 N. Gay Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
It’s free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated.
The keynote speaker will be Neill Franklin, who is the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a former Baltimore City Police officer. Major Franklin now works to help end marijuana prohibition, and he will discuss how this would impact racial justice generally and Baltimore specifically.
We hope that you can join us for this informative event! Please pass this message along to any friends or family members who might be interested in attending and share our event on Facebook.
Check out this great video from LEAP, in which executive director Neill Franklin explains how prohibition has destroyed the relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities they police. "When I talk to young people, they say the only reason you come into our neighborhood is to search us for drugs," says Franklin, a 33-year law enforcement veteran. "I want us -- cops -- to be the ones that kids can come up to in the streets when they have an issue or a problem. Not run in the other direction."
The National Black Police Association yesterday became the latest group to endorse California’s Proposition 19, the November ballot measure that would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. From the Los Angeles Times:
The National Black Police Assn., which has about 15,000 members, is the second African American organization to back the measure. The California NAACP has also endorsed it, citing the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of African Americans caught with marijuana.
Ron Hampton, the police association’s executive director, said he decided the group should get behind the measure because it would eliminate laws that have a negative impact on the black community.
“It means that we will be locking up less African American men and women and children who are using drugs,” said Hampton, a retired Washington, D.C., police officer with 25 years experience. “We’ve got more people in prison. We’ve got more young people in prison. Blacks go to jail more than whites for doing the same thing.”
Hampton said that the money being spent on the war on drugs could be better spent on education, housing and creating jobs. “It just seemed like to me that we have been distracted in this whole thing,” he said. “We can take that money, and focus and concentrate on things that really make a difference in our community.”
For more, watch LEAP executive director Neill Franklin discuss the endorsement on MSNBC: