FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Joint Cannabis Task Force is an Attack on Minority Business Owners
Statement from Independent Candidate Rodney “Red” Grant
WASHINGTON, DC, AUGUST 30, 2022 — Anyone who knows the history of Washington DC, knows that the destabilization of the black economy has been the catalyst for the prosperity that politicians and oligarchs claim as their success. African Americans in this city have been disproportionately arrested and stripped of their rights for non-violent drug offenses and know first hand the significance of being able to operate a successful business on the right side of the law. This week, the joint cannabis task force will begin inspections of cannabis-industry related businesses, made possible through provisions in Initiative 71.
The legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia has provided an opportunity to share some of the wealth with the very community that has been unfairly punished for its former possession and consumption. For the mayor to go back on the promise to share the wealth that the legal cannabis industry has created in the black community is a travesty that is rooted in racism and greed. The cannabis community in DC employs hundreds of people and provides safe cannabis consumption for thousands of residents of all backgrounds. These businesses are not hurting the community. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging them to further integrate into ABRA’s process, the current Mayor wants to shut them down, force businesses to close, and force citizens back into the illegal drug trade. This further destabilizes a community that is already entrenched in violence and poverty. As a leader, this is the most egregious demonstration of negligence and ill will towards our community.
The current administration would rather send millions of dollars into the underground drug market than allow these businesses to operate and pay taxes. Doing so would require an administration which actually cares about the people it serves. This tax revenue can help improve our schools, fund after school programs, or ensure that families don’t have to wait 20 years to get an affordable housing unit.
It’s easier to bully vulnerable businesses than to actually address the issues plaguing our communities. We have amassed the highest murder rate in 2 decades, and none of those murders are related to the marijuana industry. These businesses have been operating safely and successfully for years. With the uptick in violence in our community, I find it rather irresponsible that we are actively seeking ways to limit the flow of legal revenue creation.
Our city needs new leadership and when I am elected Mayor, these arbitrary and punitive declarations will never see the light of day. I support initiative 71, as voted upon, and I stand with the residents and small business owners of the District of Columbia.