The legalization of cannabis is not just an economic and public health issue, it’s also a racial justice issue.
As states legalize cannabis and cities decriminalize it, the cannabis industry is becoming a mainstream business opportunity that’s fueling tax revenue growth potential for beleaguered jurisdictions. But what happens when a substance that locked so many Black and Brown people behind bars becomes legal? And what obligations do these states and municipalities have to allocate that revenue to communities that were disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs over the past 50 years?
Since the War on Drugs-- marked by draconian drug possession laws, increased police presence and mandatory sentencing minimums-- was racially biased in both its application and its negative consequences, it is essential to center race from the very foundation of local and state cannabis legalization structures. From how the tax revenue is allocated to how to address financial and legal barriers to cannabis market entry, these solutions could further racial inequities or begin to move toward racial justice solutions. Legalizing marijuana is just the first step in a long term process.
States and local jurisdictions will need to repair past harm and expunge cannabis offenses from criminal records and release prisoners convicted of marijuna related crimes. They need to create pathways and opportunities to allow full participation in the legal cannabis market, from seed to retail sale.And lastly, to invest state revenue into areas ravaged by the War on Drugs. Join us to learn more about the components of a social equity policy and the jurisdictions that are moving this work forward.
This webinar will:
1. Explore how race played a part in making cannabis federally prohibited in the first place
2. Provide an analysis on the lasting impacts of the War on Drugs on Black and Brown urban communities
3. Highlight what activists and governments are doing now to call for redistribution of tax revenue to those who have been most affected.
This webinar will be facilitated by Juell Stewart, Race Forward's Policy Research Manager.
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