DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - "The bottom line: times have changed," President of the Dayton unit of the NAACP Derrick Foward said Wednesday night.
Foward was addressing the media alongside Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to voice their support of Issue 8, which is the decriminalization of marijuana in Dayton. The issue is on the November ballot, and would make it so that possession of marijuana up to 1 ounce would not be a crime.
"Nearly every uniform, people have tried marijuana, even though it is illegal. People don't look at it as a criminal offense, and so we don't want it to be criminally prosecuted," Whaley said.
Foward said the NAACP has voted nationally that they believe marijuana should be decriminalized, in addition to the vote in the local unit. He said that about 50 percent of people who are in the judicial system are there for non-violent crimes.
"It doesn't make sense that we're putting people in prison for non-violent crimes when we could be educating them, when those individuals could be out here getting meaningful jobs, being productive citizens," he said.
Issue 8 would mean that anyone who was found to be in possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana would not be criminally persecuted, and it would take away the misdemeanor and the fine.
"The NAACP is saying yes on 8," Foward said.
He also called for safeguards to put in place so that if recreational marijuana is ever legalize, it would be an equal opportunity industry.