We Cannot Allow Communities Who Have Borne the Brunt of Prohibition to be Robbed Once More of the Economic Benefits they Stand to Gain
Legal Regulation Must Benefit and be Shaped by Those Most Harmed by Prohibition, Centering Health and Wellness, not Large Commercial Interests
In response to intensifying attempts by major corporate interests, including the alcohol and tobacco lobby, to involve themselves in conversations around the federal regulation of marijuana, Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
“We have long been concerned about the entry of large commercial interests into the legal marijuana market. Big Alcohol and Tobacco have an abysmal track record of using predatory tactics to sell their products and build their brands – often targeting low-income communities of color and fighting public health regulations that would protect people.
It is predictable, but reprehensible, that industries that have allowed the arbitrary distinction between licit and illicit drugs to stand for so long now want to end a form of prohibition in order to bolster their bottom line. They stood by for decades as communities of color were criminalized and robbed of economic opportunities, only to try to swoop in when it is politically and financially convenient to do so, to deprive these communities once more of the long overdue economic benefits they stand to gain.
We believe that federal marijuana prohibition needs to end. We also believe that regulation needs to be done thoughtfully in ways that begin to repair past harm and make communities safer and healthier. We do not want to replicate tobacco and alcohol industry strategies, which we know have hurt the health and wellness of communities. We urge caution to elected officials in taking these industry actors’ counsel and demand that the communities who have borne the brunt of prohibition be given the right-of-way when it comes to shaping policy and benefiting from the legal regulation of marijuana."