MAINE: Proponents of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Maine’s largest city evoked the controversial George Zimmerman verdict during a Monday news conference in Portland and said laws against pot are used to unfairly target blacks.
“Our justice system is failing us,” said Regina Phillips, an executive board member of the Maine NAACP, during the event. “It does not treat people equally.”
The news conference was held to rally support for a proposed ordinance change that would decriminalize possession of the drug in Portland just hours before the City Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the measure.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator, was found not guilty of murder last week in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. The high-profile case has been been protested by many civil rights groups as an example of racial inequality, first because Zimmerman was not initially charged in the shooting, and subsequently after a jury found him not guilty.
Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the case, but critics have pointed to the fact that Martin was unarmed and that police subsequently reported that there was no indication the teen was involved in criminal activity at the time of the shooting.