by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach DirectorAugust 7, 2019

For the first time since Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, which legalized marijuana for adults 21 and up, NAACP Denver has joined forces with Amanda C. Phillips, state director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and other thought leaders to host “The Color of Cannabis.” Organizers of the event hope to educate community leaders and other stakeholders about the lack of diversity and need for social equity within the marijuana industry.

“The most important thing I want to iterate is the cannabis industry is expanding at leaps and bounds, and more states are coming online across the country,” said Phillips. “This is a pivotal moment in time where the conversation should include communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. There should be opportunities for all of us to participate in this growing industry.”

Support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act Today

Other panelists include: Bia Campbell, Public Affairs Program Administrator, Denver’s Office of Marijuana Policy, Rosalie Flores, Social Equity and Justice Reform Advocate and Cannabis Marketing Specialist, Sarah Woodson, Social Equity Advocate and CEO, Kush and Canvasses. Panelists will explore the collateral consequences associated with a marijuana-related conviction, which can lead to a lifetime of discrimination when it comes to employment and basic services like housing assistance and student loans

What: The Color of Cannabis

When: Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 11am-1pm MDT

Where: New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205

As the failed policies of marijuana prohibition continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, we must take the necessary steps to address the damage caused by the criminalization of marijuana. That’s why NORML and Minorities for Medical Marijuana proudly support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. 

If passed by Congress, the MORE Act will remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set their own policies free from federal interference. The bill would also create a Trust Fund to assist state and local governments in expunging criminal records and setting up regulatory structures for marijuana’s lawful production and distribution.

 The Trust Fund would have three functions:

  1. A fund administrated by a newly created Office of Cannabis Justice to issue grants to communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs for the development of expungement processes, employment programs, reentry guidance, youth resources and more. The Office of Cannabis would be one of the Justice Programs in the Department of Justice. This provision is modeled on the Marijuana Justice Act, by Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (CA).
  2. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to encourage socially and economically disadvantaged people to enter the cannabis industry, similar to legislation introduced by Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (NY).
  3. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to create equitable licensing programs in states and local governments that benefit communities most impacted by the prohibition.

It’s time to end the broken and discriminatory policies of marijuana prohibition. Click here to send a message to your representatives in support of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act.

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