Social Equity and Community Reinvestment Must Be Focus of Comprehensive Legalization Bill
“We’re encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s renewed ambition to get legalization done this year and to see social equity and small business incubator programs included in his plan. Decriminalization alone will never be enough to right the injustices of discriminatory marijuana enforcement. We need to ensure any bill legalizing and regulating marijuana includes opportunities for New Yorkers who have been directly impacted by decades of prohibition to excel in the new market and must also dedicate significant funds to those communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Smart regulation can support community wellbeing and safety while building a diverse, socially equitable industry that strengthens all parts of our state.
New York has an opportunity this year to become a leading example when it comes to implementing cannabis legalization from a social justice lens, where other states have fallen short. It’s our hope that Governor Cuomo take the opportunity to listen to real New Yorkers and small businesses across the state, to make this bill one that benefits all those who have been harmed by prohibition.
The Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) will continue to advocate that any legalization framework include provisions to reinvest tax revenues into communities harmed by cannabis criminalization, and looks forward to seeing that bill pass in session this year.”