Marijuana legalization advocates and members of community groups attend a rally against marijuana arrests in front of One Police Plaza on June 13, 2012 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images/Spencer Platt
Mon, Nov 11, 2013 1:17 PM EST

The NAACP recently came out in support of  H.R. 1523 -- the Respect States Marijuana Laws Act, an uncommonly bipartisan bill currently being considered by Congress that would further expand protections for states hoping to legalize the drug. This isn't the first time the NAACP has spoken out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, who frequently refers to it as a civil rights issue. There are wide disparities in the numbers of people of color arrested for marijuana related offenses with young black and Latino men make up the majority of arrests nationwide, although young white men and women consume marijuana at higher rates.

Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority, told the Huffington Post the NAACP's support is significant.

"Having the NAACP's support for a states' rights approach to marijuana reform is going to have a huge impact and will provide comfort and cover to politicians and prominent people who want to see prohibition end but who are a little skittish about states getting too far ahead of the feds on this issue."

The announcement comes in the 43rd year of the War on Drugs, during which President Obama has continued to crack down on illegal drugs. Check out The Nation's most recent feature on "Obama's War on Drugs."