As the two opposing sides were debating medical marijuana on Tuesday in Broward County, the NAACP of Florida announced that it is endorsing the passing of Amendment 2.
"Florida State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People proudly announces its support of United for Care and the passage of Amendment 2 this November," a news release from the group announced. "The NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, has worked successfully with allies of all races and plays a significant role in improving the lives of minorities in America."
The importance of this endorsement can't be glossed over, given the disparity of health care between African-Americans and Hispanics compared to whites.
According to the Florida Office of Minority Health, "health outcomes for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are apparent when comparing their health indicators to Florida's general population."
Overall, minorities experience a higher rate of illness and death from poor health and diseases such as cancers, diabetes, and AIDS.
Likewise, according to the American Medical Association:
The residents of the racial ghetto are significantly less healthy than most other Americans. They suffer from higher mortality rates, higher incidence of major diseases, and lower availability and utilization of medical services.
While medical marijuana is not a cure-all, the main reason advocates are pushing for its legalization is because it helps those with debilitating diseases such as cancer, ALS, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma.
The NAACP's endorsement carries significant weight for November's vote.
"The NAACP has always fought for people's rights. Amendment 2 is about patients' rights," said Adora Obi Nweze, president of the NAACP Florida State Conference, in a news release. "We are hopeful that all Floridians will join our organization in supporting the fundamental idea that medical decisions should be made by doctors and their patients, not politicians.
"At a time when the African American community is disproportionately impacted by debilitating diseases and conditions such as certain cancers, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia, it is vital to ensure that all health care options are on the table," said Adora Obi Nweze. "The scientific community has consistently concluded that medicinal marijuana can improve the quality of life of certain sick and suffering individuals.
"We will work to pass Amendment 2 because far too many patients are suffering needlessly. Supporting medical marijuana is simply the right thing to do," she added.
United for Care's Ben Pollara called the NAACP endorsement welcome news. "It is welcome news to have earned the support of an organization that has such an incredible history of fighting for the rights of the people," he said.
"We will proudly work alongside the Florida State Conference NAACP and minority communities to allow doctors to consult with their patients and ensure that all sick and suffering Floridians have access to the treatment their doctors recommend without fearing criminal punishment," added Pollara.