URGENT ACTION ITEM: Equity in MA Marijuana Law


FOCUS: Equity in the Massachusetts Adult Use Marijuana Law
GOAL: Make sure that people who have marijuana-related offenses on their record don’t get shut out of the new industry created by the Massachusetts Adult Use Marijuana law.
DEADLINE: PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY AND TOMORROW TO MAKE SURE THE LAW PROVIDES EQUITY TO COMMUNITIES HARMED BY THE “WAR ON DRUGS.”

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ACTION:

The Conference Committee that is going to write the new Massachusetts Adult Use Marijuana law begins meeting this week. By Friday, they will have finalized legislation for the Governor to sign into law.

Last week, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of activists and elected leaders from communities of color around the Commonwealth, we were able to dramatically improve the language in the House of Representatives’ bill that is in the Conference Committee.

But we still have work to do.

Our top priority for this next round is to make sure that people who have marijuana-related offenses on their record don’t get shut out of the new industry. There was language in the original law that would have prevented this, and we are demanding that it be put back:

‘Notwithstanding any other section of this bill, no person shall be denied a cannabis license or otherwise barred from participating in the industry based on a previous cannabis arrest, conviction, or infraction, unless it involved sales to a minor.’

We also support the Senate’s bill overall, particularly their new provisions around promoting diversity in the industry. The House added similar language in Section 33 that we also support.

Please call your own state representative and senator, as well as the members of the Conference Committee and House leaders to tell them the voters approved equity in the new marijuana law and we demand that it be part of the final bill.

There’s a script below for you to use – feel free to tailor it to your own voice.

Thanks for all your hard work! Please call today and encourage others to do the same.

Calls to be made (in descending order of importance)

Call #1: Your own state representative and state senator

Call #2: Conference Committee members:

  • Senator Patricia Jehlen (D) – (617) 722-1578
  • Senator Richard Ross (R) – 617-722-1555
  • Senator William Brownsberger (D) – (617) 722-1280
  • Rep. Hannah Kane (R) – (617) 722-2430
  • Rep. Ronald Mariano (D) – (617) 722-2300
  • Rep. Mark Cusack (D) – (617) 722-2637

Call #3: House leaders

  • Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (D) – 617-722-2500
  • Chair, House Ways & Means Brian Dempsey (D) – 617-722-2990

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SCRIPT (You can ask to speak to a policy or legislative aide)

“Hello, my name is _______________ and I’m calling to let my (representative/senator) know that I support equity in the new marijuana law. The most critical change would be to put language protecting people with marijuana-related offenses back in the bill. The communities who suffered most during the “War on Drugs” deserve an opportunity to benefit from the newly-legal industry. I hope my (representative/senator) supports all the sections of the bill that promote diversity in the industry and equity for those communities harmed most by marijuana prohibition. Thank you.”

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ADDITIONAL READING & INFO:

Photo Credit: eva8* Flickr via Compfight cc