Testimony in Support of HB 6377, An Act Concerning Labor Peace Agreements and a Modern and Equitable Cannabis Workforce

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 10:00am

Submitted by: Shaleen Title, Esq. (shaleen@gmail.com), Co-Founder, Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, Former Inaugural Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner (2017-2020)

Dear Chair Porter, Chair Kushner, and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony in support of HB 6377. From 2017 to 2020, I served as a commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission appointed by the governor, attorney general, and treasurer of Massachusetts for expertise in social justice and policy issues. My goal is to be a resource to share the lessons we learned in Massachusetts. I enthusiastically support HB 6377 for addressing all of these areas and, to me, taking into account those lessons.

Over the past three years, I learned that the will, the intent, and even an explicit mandate for social equity in a state cannabis law is not enough without specific policies in place that focus on criminal justice reform, reinvestment of tax revenue into disproportionately harmed communities, and both ownership and workforce development for people harmed by the war on drugs. HB 6377 contains those crucial policies, in particular:

• Allowing for personal use and cultivation, which reduces the likelihood of a monopoly

• Protection against municipal corruption, which has been a major issue in Massachusetts

• Protections for vulnerable communities to ensure that the legal cannabis framework does not unintentionally perpetuate the same discrimination as the war on drugs

• An equity task force to collect data for effective decision-making and provide transparency on these policies.

HB 6377 is a well-drafted bill that is responsive to the complexity of cannabis laws and business as well as the decades of devastation caused by past prohibition, and I appreciate the opportunity to support it. Thank you for your time and consideration.