Check out this op-ed in the Dorchester Reporter about the need to fully fund the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund!
Access to capital is the biggest barrier to entry to the cannabis market and this bill will invest millions of dollars into locally owned businesses, creating jobs and wealth for Black and Brown and other families in communities harmed by over-policing and the War on Drugs in Dorchester and across the Commonwealth.
The cannabis legalization statute calls for cannabis revenue to go to five priorities: public health, public safety, municipal police training, the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, and “programming for restorative justice” and related programs and services.
Nearly six years after legalization, we’ve used cannabis revenues to supplement public health and safety in the state budget, but have yet to meaningfully invest cannabis revenue in the restorative justice programs our communities deserve.
In 2020, I wrote in the Reporter that “To truly create [an] equitable… cannabis industry… the Legislature must commit itself to dedicating at least 20 percent of excess cannabis revenue back into communities as envisioned by the law.”
While we’re a lot closer to that reality than ever before, there’s still more work to do. Right now, legislative leaders are deciding just how much cannabis revenue these programs, and these communities, deserve – and they need to hear from you.
The House increased its proposed cannabis equity funding from 15 percent to 20 percent, thanks to Rep. Tyler’s advocacy and the support of leadership. Unfortunately, the Senate bill only allocated 10 percent.
Now is the time to let your state representatives and senators know that you hope they will encourage the Conference Committee to fully fund equity with 20 percent of cannabis revenue in the final bill.
Given the compounding effects of years of criminalization and over-policing of Black and Brown communities over generations, it couldn’t be more urgent or more critical that legislative leaders fund the social equity financing program envisioned by Sens. Collins and Chang-Diaz and Rep. Hunt at the full one-fifth of cannabis revenue approved by the House.
If you think Dorchester and communities like it deserve their fair share of cannabis revenue, ask your state representative and senator to ensure the final cannabis reform bill funds social equity programs with at least 20 percent of cannabis revenues.
This progress would not have been possible without the relentless work of the legislators mentioned above, as well as advocacy by Shanel Lindsay and the team at Equitable Opportunities Now; Shaleen Title, Steve Hoffman, Commissioner Nurys Camargo, and other current and former Cannabis Control commissioners; advocates, and entrepreneurs.