At least a dozen community and social-action groups are sponsoring a rally in Chicago calling for an end to the U.S. "war on drugs."
It marks the 40th anniversary of the declaration by then-President Richard Nixon.
The rally will be in Chicago's Loop on Friday at the James R. Thompson Center.
A study by the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University shows the state ranks first in the disparity among whites and blacks locked up for drug possession.
Consortium director Kathleen Kane-Willis says the rally will focus on facing the drug problem as a public-health menace, not a criminal one that stigmatizes users and hurts their chances to be productive in society.
Organizers say the event will coincide with similar gatherings around the country.