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Marijuana Equity Advocates Hosting Summit To Shape Northeast Legalization Plans



The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is hosting an event in December aimed at coordinating marijuana legalization plans across the Northeast with the goal of ensuring that whatever new laws emerge are centered on social equity and empower communities that have been harmed the most by prohibition enforcement.

The event, announced on Wednesday, was organized in response to a separate conference held by the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania earlier this month, at which the officials emphasized the need to develop legal cannabis markets that are consistent across the states to promote public safety and racial justice.

MCBA President Jason Ortiz told Marijuana Moment that the summit “will take what the governors agreed to in principle, and provide them with concrete policy recommendations on how to put those principles into practice.”

“Our communities have incredible expertise and experience on how these laws affect us now, and how they can be shaped to best support the communities most affected by the war on cannabis because those communities are our communities,” he said. “We hope to take the recommendations presented at this summit to the halls of power in all three states to ensure a regional approach to equity is a top priority for the tri-state legislators in 2020.”

The conference, which will be held on December 7 in New York City, will bring in about 100 of the “brightest minds” in cannabis policy in the region to “better understand how a regional approach to cannabis commerce can best benefit the communities of color most impacted by the war on drugs,” according to the event page.

Shaleen Title, who serves as a commissioner on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, will speak at the summit.

“The opportunity for a consistent regional approach to fair legalization could be the key to moving from social justice principles to results,” she said in a press release. “I applaud the leadership in the Northeast states, along with MCBA and its partners, for seeking to model a fair regional approach that can also support a federal framework. Any policymaker with an interest in cannabis should consider attending this summit.”

Adam Smith, founder of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, said this event represents a “tremendous opportunity to create a system that uplifts historically over policed communities of west coast farmers and east coast distributors.”

MCBA previously released model legislation to help cities ensure equity in the cannabis industry.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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