With July 31 deadline looming, House and Senate could decide whether to fully fund new cannabis equity grant & loan fund with 20% of cannabis revenue or only 10% any day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2022
CONTACT: Shanel Lindsay
BOSTON – Responding to a question from cannabis activist Grant Ellis Smith during his monthly “Ask the Governor” segment on GBH’s Boston Public Radio, Gov. Charlie Baker expressed his general support for a cannabis reform bill currently being negotiated by a House and Senate conference committee.
Calling the bill “important” and repeatedly expressing his desire to have a bill on his desk before the end of session, the Governor referred to cannabis equity and local licensing reform as among the “key priorities” in the bill, saying in part:
“This one has been working its way through the process since the beginning of the legislative session and it’s important and I certainly hope it gets to my desk. You said out some of the key priorities; there are many others as well…”
Equitable Opportunities Co-Founder Shanel Lindsay issued the following statement in response:
“It’s encouraging to hear Gov. Baker affirm the importance of equity in this bill and that he sees the value in the many reforms being finalized by the Conference Committee.
“I think we all share the goal of reducing barriers to entry into this new market and fostering opportunity for entrepreneurs most harmed by the criminalization of this product. I hope the final bill will reflect that commitment by fully funding the new Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund with 20% of cannabis revenue, empowers communities to have a say in how that fund is reinvested, and gets to the Governor before time runs out.”
Grant Ellis Smith, who asked the question, added:
“The advocates, commissioners and lawmakers who spent the last four years bringing the priorities contained within the omnibus cannabis reform legislation into reality reflect the very best of our democratic process. For the Governor, at one time an opponent of legal cannabis, to affirm that important work by highlighting Host Community Agreement reform and the Social Equity Trust Fund in his remarks today is a telling sign of just how much impact authentic grassroots cannabis activism can have in the modern age.
“Furthermore, it was refreshing to hear that the Governor eagerly awaits the final version of S.2823 before the end of the formal legislative session on July 31st. There is no doubt in my mind that our lawmakers will heed this pivotal moment and present final language prior to next Sunday which fully funds the equity trust fund with 20% of the yearly adult use excise tax revenue, creates a municipal equity mandate and ensures robust oversight of the local Host Community Agreement process.
“In so many states, cannabis laws are weaponized by small groups of monied groups in the pursuit of market oligopolies; in Massachusetts, we have proven that the opposite can also be true and the current omnibus equity reform bill is perhaps the best example of that inspiring trend.”
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.