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Media contacts on behalf of Real Action for Cannabis Equity (R.A.C.E.):
Catharine Montgomery, 617-997-5097, Catharine@617MediaGroup.com
Measure aligns with recommendations from the state to achieve economic equity in cannabis
CAMBRIDGE, MA – In a 7 to 2 vote last week, the Cambridge City Council voted in favor of a measure seeking to establish equity in the new burgeoning cannabis industry. The measure, which will have its final confirmation vote today, proposes a two-year moratorium during which the city will exclusively consider applications from Economic Empowerment entrepreneurs, as defined by the state. City Councilors Sumbul Siddiqui and Quinton Zondervan spearheaded the moratorium measure, which received support and affirmative votes from Mayor Marc McGovern and Councilors Jan Devereux, Dennis J. Carlone, Alanna M. Mallon and Craig A. Kelley.The moratorium was supported and endorsed by Real Action for Cannabis Equity, or R.A.C.E., which launched its coalition efforts at the beginning of September with a series of events: a press conference at the Massachusetts State House, a silent demonstration at Cambridge City Hall, and the launch of a major voter outreach campaign in various municipalities across Massachusetts. The group was formed to highlight the disconnect of social equity following reports that only two of 184 marijuana business licenses in Massachusetts are owned by people in state equity programs.
“The impact of this measure on the community cannot be understated. This was a hugely important and courageous move on the part of the Cambridge City Council and Mayor, standing up to Wall Street and Big Cannabis to set the tone as a leader in equity and an example for the state and the country to follow,” said Taba Moses, President of Green Soul Organics and R.A.C.E. co-founder. “None of this would have happened without the leadership of Councilors Siddiqui and Zondervan and the support of Mayor Marc McGovern. We are grateful for their relentless work to sift through the noise and get down to real equity impact, and that is exactly what this vote does. This will change lives.”
“The City of Cambridge and its leaders have shown the nation, once again, that Cambridge has the courage to lead the cannabis industry with its commitment to economic and social justice. This historic vote proves that the Cambridge City Council understands that economic justice and equity must be legislated in order to achieve true and meaningful equity within the new emerging cannabis industry,” said Richard Harding, an equity advocate and R.A.C.E. co-founder who supported the historic Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, which helped legalize recreational marijuana through a ballot initiative passed by voters on November 6, 2016. Harding is a former Cambridge School Committee member and the President of the Green Soul Foundation, which is a charter member of the R.A.C.E. coalition. Harding said, “Leadership takes courage, and the Council led by Councilors Siddiqui and Zondervan, have taken a courageous vote that will ensure that marginalized communities that have been decimated by the fake war on drugs will have an opportunity benefit from the emerging cannabis industry.”
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has clearly identified guidelines for cities and towns to establish this new industry within a framework that promotes economic empowerment in communities disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for drug offenses – defined as Economic Empowerment (EE) applicants. The example they cite is a moratorium; that is, to give EE applicants exclusive first shot at applying for one of a very limited number of cannabis licenses within a given municipality, while already-established and corporate-owned medical facilities must wait for a time period before they can flood the adult-use cannabis market.
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The mission of the R.A.C.E. coalition and movement is to unite, empower, and create maximum opportunity for communities and people of color within the emerging cannabis industry with a specific aim to raise up the voices of cannabis business owners and workers of color.
Founded and led by entrepreneurs and business owners of color within the cannabis industry, R.A.C.E. is an aspiring 501(c)(6) seeking to advance the interests of our community and of industrial equity through economic liberation, self-determination, business ownership, the rejection of tokenism, and through the promotion of community empowerment, skills-building, and political advocacy.
Whereas prohibition was weaponized against communities and people of color to stoke criminalization, brutality and incarceration, R.A.C.E. seeks and promotes avenues by which cannabis legalization may lead to the economic empowerment for entrepreneurs, workers, and communities of color in an era of rampant wage inequity, racial inequality, and prejudicial treatment by major institutions against entrepreneurs and workers of color.