70+ Groups Join Forces to Urge Legislature to Pass Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act

Press Release March 19, 2021
Media Contact

Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

Albany, NY – In a show of overwhelming force, more than 70 groups representing labor unions, civil rights, immigration reform, faith-based organizers, criminal justice and police reformers, parents, treatment providers, drug reform groups, legal advocates and other organizations from across the state of New York sent a letter today to Albany’s legislative leaders urging the swift passage of the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) to “ensure legalization has justice, reinvestment, and health and social equity at the core.” 
The MRTA (S.854/A.1248) would set a new national model by focusing benefits on those who have been harmed by prohibition, according to the groups. “We urge the Legislature to elevate the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act over Governor Cuomo’s competing proposal that maintains criminalization in marijuana enforcement while also not ensuring the benefits of legalization will be felt by the Black and brown communities that were impacted the most by marijuana prohibition,” they wrote. 
“Any legalization effort that purports to be responsive to the devastation of the marijuana arrest crusade in New York must center social equity and direct tax revenue from sales toward the communities that are still reeling from decades of biased enforcement, which the Governor has recognized. And legislation must include specific language to resolve the devastating collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization in the fields of housing, employment, child welfare, and immigration,” the groups noted. 
The letter called on Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie to pass marijuana reform legislation that:
•    Ensures community reinvestment
•    Ends criminalization
•    Delivers social equity
•    Improves the state’s medical marijuana program
•    Allows personal cultivation; and
•    Focuses on environmental sustainability
A copy of today’s letter is available here: http://smart-ny.com/leaders-letter-mrta 
Below is a full list of the organizations that have signed the letter:
1199 SEIU
A Little Piece Of Light
All That Jive NYC
Asian Cannabis Roundtable
The Bronx Defenders
Brooklyn Defender Services
Brooklyn Movement Center
Canna Haven Buffalo
Cannaware Society
Castetter Cannabis Group
Center for Appellate Litigation
Center for Community Alternatives
Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)
Citizen Action
Colored Girls Bike Too
Communities United for Police Reform
Community Service Society of New York
Cooperation Buffalo
Democracy at Work Institute
Doctors for Cannabis Regulation
Drug Policy Alliance
DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
Empire State NORML
Faith in New York
Families for Freedom
Five Borough Defenders
Genesee Co-op FCU
Green Worker Cooperatives
¡High Mi Madre! LLC 
Housing Works
Immigrant Defense Project
Justice Committee
Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Long Island Progressive Coalition
Long Island Social Justice Action Network 
Make The Road New York
NAACP New York State Conference
New Economy Project
New Hour for Women and Children
New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association
New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives
New York Immigration Coalition
New York Working Families Party
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
NY Small Farma
NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives
NYU Wagner CannaPolicy
Partnership for the Public Good
Public Science Project
Rise Up Kingston
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc.
Sister Diaspora for Liberation
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training Inc (SAFEST) 
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp (SoBro)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy – Buffalo
TakeRoot Justice 
TLBK, LLC (formerly Tainted Love BK)
Treatment Action Group
WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
Women Grow
Youth Represent

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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