State lawmakers and advocates are calling for New York to include reinvesting in communities of color – which have been disportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition – in any bill to legalize recreational cannabis use.
The Start SMART NY coalition and several legislators will be rallying on the steps of the state Assembly at 1 p.m. Tuesday to urge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers to include provisions that address the significant damage done to communities through marijuana prohibition.
Advocates say a portion of tax revenue from recreational use of marijuana should go to community investment and economic equity opportunities. The legislation also should include specific language to resolve “the devastating collateral consequences of marijuana prohibition in the fields of housing, employment, child welfare and immigration,” advocates say.
Marijuana prohibition continues to disproportionately impact black and Hispanic men and women in New York, who are arrested, convicted and sentenced at higher rates than their white peers.
Advocates also seek a social equity program to ensure that small businesses and individuals who have been impacted by the marijuana prohibiton can participate in the legal market.
Those expected to speak at Tuesday’s rally include: Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assembly members Walter Mosley, Latrice Walker, Joseph Lentol, Harvey Epstein and Yuh-Line Niou. Jawanza Williams of VOCAL-NY, Melissa Moore of Drug Policy Alliance, Yusuf Abdul-Qadir of the state Civil Liberties Union Central New York Chapter, Tanya Osborne of Women Grow and advocates from several other organizations also are scheduled to speak.