The article “Activists, firms clash over pot rules” by Dan Adams (Business, Nov. 10) referred to a controversial memo drafted by “several medical [marijuana] dispensaries.” The memo made policy recommendations related to the forthcoming adult-use cannabis regulations. One such recommendation, Adams reported, “would undermine a key provision in the new state law granting expedited licensing to companies that would promote economic empowerment of those arrested and incarcerated for marijuana offenses at disproportionately high rates — namely, minority and low-income communities.”
Though not explicitly claimed in the article, it has been alleged by some that the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, an organization comprising 13 registered marijuana dispensaries, authored the memo. The association would like to clarify that it is not in any way responsible for the memo referenced in the article.
The association membership believes that there should be a seat at the table for everyone as the regulated cannabis industry develops. There is no question that minority and low-income communities have been disproportionately affected by decades of wrongheaded drug policy. The adult-use cannabis statute signed by the governor in July provides several avenues to begin remediating some of these injustices. Efforts to undermine provisions in statute that ensure a level playing field for all industry participants are counterproductive to the fair and equitable distribution of opportunity in the emerging regulated cannabis industry.
The association also believes that it will be important to leverage the existing medical cannabis production infrastructure to facilitate the timely introduction of adult-use cannabis establishments as the program gets off the ground. It would be unfortunate to repeat the missteps made in the early days of the medical marijuana program rollout.
The concepts of remediation for disproportionally affected communities and leveraging the existing infrastructure are not mutually exclusive. Both should be encouraged by all reasonable participants in the rule-making process.