Letter from former commissioners follows call from Equitable Opportunities Now, ACLU, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Boston Impact Initiative, Foundation for Business Equity, The Boston Foundation, Union Capital Boston & other advocates for legislators to adopt the House provision funding program with 20% of excess cannabis revenue in final bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2022
CONTACT: Shanel Lindsay
BOSTON – Former Massachusetts Cannabis Control Chair Steve Hoffman and former Commissioner Shaleen Title, Esq. sent a letter urging legislative leaders and a conference committee negotiating cannabis reform bills to fund a new Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund with 20% of excess cannabis revenue.
While the House passed a bill allocating 20% of revenue to the program, the Senate bill only funded the program with 10% of revenue. The law calls for this revenue to be spent on five priorities, including restorative justice, and advocates have been calling on legislators to equitably fund equity programs.
Last week, more than 20 community leaders and advocates led by Equitable Opportunities Now, ACLU of Massachusetts, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation and other racial and economic justice organizations called on legislators to fully fund the program (see below for details).
“..although Massachusetts led the nation by being the first state to require cannabis regulators like us to create economic empowerment pathways for communities most harmed by the war on drugs, we lag behind other states that have created, among other solutions, funds for small businesses to access capital. A final bill to create a fund for Massachusetts with 20% of excess tax revenue will help to level the playing field for our residents.”
“We hope you will act quickly to finalize this bill while we still have a narrow window of opportunity to create a fair market, a move that will make a positive impact on our state for generations to come.”
View the full letter: https://www.shaleentitle.com/2022/06/30/letter-to-massachusetts-legislators.html
Statement from Equitable Opportunities Now Co-Founder Shanel Lindsay:
“We are so grateful to former Chair Hoffman and Commissioner Title for their persistent outspokenness on the need to reinvest cannabis revenue to create pathways toward equitable participation in this new industry. Legislators have done a lot of work to bring us this far and we hope they’ll work quickly to pass a final bill that fairly funds this crucial program.”
Equitable Opportunities Now (EON) educates for and empowers people of color to become active participants in the Massachusetts legal cannabis market. EON’s mission is to ensure equitable ownership and employment opportunities for Black and Brown Communities who have been targeted by the War on Drugs. EON believes that in order to best address the lasting effects of prohibition, we must facilitate access. EON supports transition from the legacy to the legal market and forging a path of economic empowerment for people with past marijuana convictions and returning citizens.