Lawmakers join industry representatives to discuss ways policy makers can ensure diversity and help address harms caused by discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and the Minority Cannabis Industry Association (MCBA) were joined by representatives of the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses for a briefing on ways that policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels can help ensure that the legal cannabis industry is more diverse and inclusive going forward, and how steadily evolving laws on cannabis can be crafted to repair some of the harms caused by the racially and economically disparate ways in which marijuana laws have been enforced nationally.
Participants discussed NCIA’s new report, “Increasing Equity in the Cannabis Industry: Six Achievable Goals for Policy Makers,” which was officially released at the event, as well as MCBA’s Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance which was originally released earlier this year.
“As more and more states move to legalize cannabis, including California, we must ensure that federal laws respect the choice of voters across the country,” said Rep. Carbajal (D-CA). “Congress must provide certainty and equity to the cannabis industry, including allowing them to access our banking system like other small businesses. The Central Coast is playing a significant part of the emerging legal cannabis industry and it is important that we remove the federal barriers handicapping this growing industry.”
“MCBA continues to work collaboratively with industry, community and policy makers to ensure equitable cannabis policy,” said Shanita Penny, president of MCBA. “Equitable cannabis policy addresses the needs and concerns of stakeholders often forgotten – the communities devastated by the failed War on Drugs. Our Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance is a tool that cities throughout the country are using already and with their feedback we’ve begun working on the next version as we navigate the nation’s fastest-growing industry.”
“As industry advocates, we have a responsibility to ensure that the cannabis industry benefits the people who have been most harmed by prohibition,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA. “We are proud of the work we have been doing with lawmakers and business leaders to bring this issue to the forefront, make this industry accessible to everyone, and develop the practices and resources we need to start undoing the decades of damage that our outdated marijuana policies have wreaked on people of color and poor communities.”
This event took place in conjunction with NCIA’s 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, which saw nearly 300 cannabis business leaders from around the country meet with hundreds of members of Congress this week to promote sensible cannabis policies, including access to banking, fair taxation, and making cannabis legal in a way that addresses the harms caused by prohibition.