Mass Incarceration

OP-ED: Issues being raised as NYC awards retail weed licenses to ‘nonprofit’ organizations

Hashish licensing in New York State has develop into a political difficulty with current retail licenses awarded to “nonprofit” organizations which have a historical past of anti-drug and anti-violence advocacy. Why the 180 diploma flip? Observe the cash.

Some say, “It’s authorized now, or the identical factor occurred with the legalization of liquor after the prohibition. Making it authorized solved some issues.” What is occurring now? Hundreds of low-level marijuana sellers stay in jail, in addition to those that have been criminalized for marijuana possession whereas a multi-billion-dollar marijuana trade is now regulated, managed and taxed by state governments.

New York State announced its first batch of licenses for retail dispensaries of recreational cannabis on Nov. 21, 2022, and nonprofit recipients embody three New York Metropolis-based nonprofit organizations. Of the 36 licenses issued by the NYS Cannabis Control Board, 28 have been awarded to particular person companies and eight to nonprofits, the state Workplace of Hashish Administration introduced. These preliminary dispensary licenses got in accordance with the state’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program, which provides precedence to folks with previous drug convictions and their members of the family. Three New York Metropolis-based nonprofits—Housing Works, the Doe Fund and LIFE Camp—have been among the many organizations awarded licenses.

Of the people who have been granted licenses, 19 belong to racial and ethnic minority teams and 20 have been from areas with a few of the lowest median family incomes within the nation, OCM spokesperson Freeman Klopott reported.

Why are NYC nonprofit organizations primarily based in low-income, working-class Black communities being focused and awarded retail licenses by the Cannabis Control Board? And why are these organizations getting on board regardless of their decades-long anti-drug advocacy?

In response to a Housing Works assertion, “Since 1990, we’ve got offered a complete array of providers to greater than 30,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers residing with and affected by HIV/AIDS. We consider that offering steady housing is healthcare, and is step one towards residing a protracted and wholesome life. Supportive providers embody—however should not restricted to—housing, healthcare, meals and dietary counseling, psychological well being and substance use therapy, job coaching, and authorized help.”

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Tha Bosslady

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