September 13th, 2010 5:33 pm | by Jason Slotkin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Politics, Cops and Courts

Marijuana Conference Wrapup: Drugs and Race

Alice Huffman, a self-described auntie who wouldn't even let you smoke in the backyard, uttered this classic line at last week's national marijuana conference in Portland: "I'm with a group of pot lovers and I'm loving it!"

Huffman, president of California's NAACP chapter, was a speaker at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference at the Governor Hotel. Californians will vote in November on Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in the state. (Oregon voters are considering whether to create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in this state.) And Huffman is a staunch supporter of Prop 19.

She wasn't the only Prop 19 supporter on a panel called "The New Jim Crow: Marijuana Prohibition."

"This is probably the whitest audience I've ever given a speech to, so I don't mean to offend," said Jasmine Tyler, who works with Drug Policy Alliance. Tyler spoke about the disparate amount of people of color versus whites with drug convictions and told the approving audience of her work to equalize sentencing guidelines for both crack and powdered cocaine.

The audience was predictably supportive of all the speakers, responding to each talking point with applause and standing ovations. Ending the panel was Huffman, who was called the "Rosa Parks" of the pro-legalization movement by Professor Harry Levine. One audience member approached Huffman for a hug when the panel ended.

Here's coverage by WW from earlier last week on the conference about growing pot, and what to do if you get busted.

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