A friend from California sent me a document from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. It’s called “Cannabis Equity Grants Programs For Local Jurisdictions.”
As I read the document, California’s program will provide $2 million to help localities establish a “cannabis equity” program. An additional $13 million will be used to help “equity applicants” set up and operate cannabis businesses. “Equity applicants” include (and seem to be limited to) people who have been convicted of using and/or selling cannabis.
Here’s the justification:
Cannabis prohibition and criminalization had a devastating impact on populations and communities across California. Individuals convicted of a cannabis offense and their families suffer the long-term consequences of prohibition and criminalization. These individuals have a more difficult time entering the newly created adult-use cannabis industry due, in part, to a lack of access to capital, business space, technical support, and regulatory compliance assistance.
Thus, granting preferential treatment to drug criminals, including dealers, is a kind of reparation.
Naturally, race and ethnicity figure in the analysis:
During the era of cannabis prohibition in California, the burdens of arrest, convictions, and longterm collateral consequences arising from a conviction fell disproportionately on African American/Black and Latinx/Hispanic people, even though people of all races used and sold cannabis at nearly identical rates.
The California Department of Justice data shows that from 2006 – 2015, inclusive, African American/Black Californians were two times more likely to be arrested for cannabis misdemeanors and five times more likely to be arrested for cannabis felonies than Caucasian/White Californians. During the same period, Latinx/Hispanic Californians were 35 percent more likely to be arrested for cannabis crimes than Caucasian/White Californians. The collateral consequences associated with cannabis law violations, coupled with generational poverty and lack of access to resources, make it extraordinarily difficult for persons with convictions to enter the newly regulated industry.
The purpose of the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions is to advance economic justice for populations and communities harmed by cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs (WoD) by providing support to local jurisdictions as they promote equity and eliminate barriers to enter the newly regulated cannabis industry for equity program applicants and licensees. By issuing these grants to local jurisdictions, GO-Biz aims to advance the wellbeing of populations and communities that have been negatively or disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and the WoD.
The document’s wording makes me wonder what alleged barrier to entry into the cannabis business is actually driving the “cannabis equity” program. California cites “collateral consequences associated with cannabis law violations” and “generational poverty.” But which is the main barrier?
In other words, is California really trying to offset the effects of criminal convictions or is this just another, albeit particularly bizarre, racial preference dressed up as justice for war on drug “victims”?
Racial preferences are bad enough. But giving preferential treatment to criminals — rewarding drug dealers, including those who sold to kids, for their past crimes — seems crazy.
Crazy, but not unprecedented. The left wants to reward millions of people who violated our immigration laws by granting them legal status and, indeed, citizenship. Those who took our laws seriously and followed the correct procedures for entry and citizenship take a back seat. Same, now, with those who didn’t turn kids on to drugs for profit.
The left has an understandable motive for rewarding violators of our immigration law. Doing so will create millions of new voters to support its agenda.
What’s the motive for “cannabis equity”? Maybe it’s not entirely dissimilar — funneling money to two favored Democratic constituencies, Blacks and criminals.
In the name of equity, of course.