January 5, 2021
The Honorable Senator ___________
Russell Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
It is time for the United States Government to join the rest of the world in acknowledging the benefits of cannabis by removing it from the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances. As a voter who supported you in the election, I urge you to ignore the outdated, unscientific arguments of prohibitionists; and use federal legalization as a policy tool to promote sustainable economic growth in poor communities of color while empowering the people most harmed by prohibition to create generational wealth in the cannabis industry.
When it comes to getting nationwide legalization right, federal leadership is irreplaceable because the uneven playing field resulting from a patchwork of state-level legalization schemes is unsustainable. But in passing the MORE Act, the House of Representatives made several last-minute changes which will effectively cement legacy market providers’ status as second-class citizens with regard to equity, ownership, and access to the investment capital needed to become licensed operators in the industry that they created. Even worse, communities most harmed by prohibition were specifically excluded from receiving any of the benefits of legalization. This has to be unacceptable.
Due to the fact that the enforcement of federal law was itself a harm done to real people and real communities, the Senate must ensure that any new law is focused on the needs of the same people and the same communities. Until such time as the current ownership disparity in the cannabis industry (where more than 80 percent of all licensed operators are white) is resolved, the principles of restorative justice demand that federal cannabis policy is centered around legacy market providers, social equity and economic empowerment applicants, as well as the communities they call home. It is critically important for the Senate to pass nationwide legalization that will:
Prioritize licensure or permitting with meaningful day-one equity for people in communities most harmed by prohibition
Allocate revenue specifically for the restoration of communities and people
Remove restrictions on legacy market providers, and provide services to facilitate licensure or permitting
Ensure access capital, and prevent a federal first-mover advantage for existing operators
As your constituent and a voter who cares deeply about cannabis justice, I encourage you to keep up this fight in Congress – and I pledge to stand with you in support.