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California NAACP Endorses Proposed Marijuana Legalization Measure

Jeff Chiu / File / AP

This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.

Jeff Chiu / File / AP

(AP) - The California State NAACP has endorsed a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

Members of the state branch of the civil rights organization backed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act during a weekend leadership retreat.

President Alice Huffman says legalizing marijuana is an important civil rights issue because pot-related arrests are "racially biased" and disproportionately affect blacks and Latinos.

Backers of the recreational use measure are counting on support from minority voters to get the initiative passed in November.

The state NAACP also endorsed a marijuana legalization measure that failed in California in 2010, a move that made Huffman the target of criticism from some church leaders.

Pre-election surveys and exit polls showed blacks and Latinos opposed the earlier measure at about the same rate as whites.