‘In other states that have established a legal marijuana market, large corporations with significant capital make up the bulk of the market share while BIPOC communities have seen little, if any, economic benefit from legalization. New York can create a more racially and economically equitable path.’
It’s been five months since New York’s Marijuana, Regulation, and Taxation Act (MRTA) was passed, ending the prohibition on the consumption of marijuana in state law and creating opportunities for social equity. This was a monumental bill for communities of color that have experienced decades of harassment and arrests due to the disproportionate enforcement of marijuana prohibition; by legalizing marijuana consumption, state lawmakers finally committed to changing the failed prohibition policy that essentially criminalized our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Additionally, the MRTA provides an enormous opportunity to create a strong and sustainable marijuana industry in BIPOC communities. For us at the East New York Community Land Trust (ENYCLT), we envision a thriving local marijuana industry rooted in racial justice and collective wealth building and decision-making by demanding public investment in the creation of a retail dispensary to be owned by the ENYCLT and operated and leased by a worker-cooperative.