Today’s vote for the MORE Act was a historic step forward to end marijuana prohibition and bring federal cannabis policies in line with the American people. It was painful but necessary for me to oppose the regulatory structure because it would set Massachusetts’ equity programs back. Thanks to years of hard-fought efforts, our state equity policies are bold and groundbreaking, and federal policies should be the same. I sent this email to the Massachusetts House members who voted yes:
Thank you for your support of the MORE Act today. After working on cannabis policy issues for twenty years, three as a state regulator, the historic nature of today’s vote was meaningful and I appreciate your part in it. Unfortunately, however, I join other cannabis regulators of color nationally in opposing the regulatory structure as passed due to the last-minute amendments which would specifically contradict and set back state-level equity policies in Massachusetts and other states. Adding a third federal cannabis permit in addition to the state and local process creates a new and massive barrier to entry, and rejecting an applicant on the basis of a cannabis conviction directly contradicts the will of the Massachusetts voters.
While we are encouraged by any forward movement on cannabis criminal justice reform, we strongly believe that we will not get racial justice without economic justice, and these two provisions strike at the heart of our approach to cannabis equity in Massachusetts which centers the communities who were most impacted by the war on drugs. Our group, the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, will be following up with your office with a memo and are eager to offer our expertise with cannabis legalization and equity.
We very much appreciate your support of cannabis legalization and restorative justice and look forward to the opportunity to work with you on changes to the Act that will support the ground breaking cannabis equity work already occurring across the country.