The NAACP recently adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of the War on Drugs, emphasizing the harm that it inflicts on minority communities. This is a sea change for the nation’s most prominent black civil rights organization.
The NAACP resolution is far from the first indication that the War on Drugs inflicts great harm on poor minorities. Scholars and commentators of widely divergent ideologies have long recognized this point. I previously blogged about it here and here. Nonetheless, the NAACP resolution is a milestone because of the organization’s prestige. The NAACP now joins a growing list of prominent groups that have called for an end to the War on Drugs in recent months, including the Global Commission on Drug Policy and a high-profile British government commission.
Complete abolition of the War on Drugs is not yet politically feasible. But the increasing recognition that the war causes more harm than good does create some political space to move towards that goal in an incremental way. Sadly, the Obama Administration refuses to take even the most modest and politically popular steps towards legalization. In fairness, most Republicans have been as bad or worse on the issue. Change we can believe in may well be coming in this field. But it may take a few more years of generational replacement for it to happen.
In the meantime, we can at least add this one to the list of issues where the NAACP and I agree.