Rep. Pressley says legalization needs an equity focus
One week after the 2022 midterm elections members of congress held a meeting to examine the benefits of marijuana legalization to try and understand what approach would most benefit the American people. The House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a meeting on the “Developments in State Cannabis Laws and Bipartisan Cannabis Reforms at the Federal Level”.
Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, the only member of the subcommittee representing New England constituents, spoke during the hearing about the need for future cannabis policy to focus on equity. The Congresswoman noted that the nationwide war on drugs led to mass incarceration which had a devastating impact on black and brown communities. With less than 2% of businesses in the cannabis industry owned and operated by black entrepreneurs today, Rep. Pressley said that the future cannabis of policy needs ensure that individuals harmed by the war on drugs are the ones who stand to benefit. Especially when projections indicate that the cannabis industry is poised to generate $50 billion dollars by 2026.
The Subcommittee also invited a number of speakers to provide information and share updates on cannabis reform efforts including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation. Multiple bills have been introduced in Congress that seek to reform federal cannabis law and remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act including The MORE Act and the States Reform ACT (SRA). The two bills have many similarities but do differ in a number of ways including on federal taxes and which agency should assume responsibility for implementation.