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tv   Political Leaders Activists Journalists and Industry Reps Speak at...  CSPAN  July 11, 2022 10:33am-1:42pm EDT

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upgrading technology, and powering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front-row seat to democracy. >> and now more from the national cannabis policy summit in washington, d.c. during this portion we will hear from representatives barbara lee, ed perlmutter and nancy mace on why they support cannabis legalization and before. before. this is just over three hours. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> good afternoon, everybody. thank you for joining us this afternoon at the reagan building. building. we are thrilled to be back and really incredible and exciting
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morning of discussion so far today.ss i am especially excited about our next talk because it features to two people i reay admire. one is doctor cheers who is a professor of digital storytelling and an interim provost for i undergraduate education at george washington university. she is also a close friend, an incredible support of cannabis advocacyle and also an incredibe advocate for the power of storytelling. and the second person i'm excited to introduce today is gary chambers is running for senate in louisiana. i think if we can talk about the power of storytelling, that mr. chambers experienced and what we're seeing with them as far as how he is captured public attention is a testimony to the power of storytelling. so without further ado i would love to bring our next to speakers to the stage for what i am certain will be a very interesting discussion. [applause]
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>> hello. >> good afternoon, everyone. >> hello, hello. >> hi. we get the lovely coveted spot after lunch, which i feel is better than before lunch. >> yeah, nobody is aggravated. >> exactly. hope early, everybody is feeling good, got something to eat and you are ready to dive in with us. it is such an honor to be able to chat with you for a little bit this afternoon. i'm just going to dive right in. for anyone in our audience who might not know who you are and where you are from, can you officially tell us who you are and where you're from? >> my name is gary chambers, and i'm running for the u.s. senate in louisiana. and i'm silly's daddy -- i'm zoe 's daddy. that's my most important title.
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>> we talked about that. i'm's mom. we talked about how importance he -- i'm isaiah's mom. we talked about how important the legacy we leave for our children is. i want to talk about how we came to public and we just talked about our shared past as a storyteller. how did you get here? >> this year, 10 years ago, i started with two of my friends a company called the roof collection, which was a black-owned media platform -- a company called the rouge collection. in the beginning, we did a bunch of trendy things -- fashion and kind of what was going on in the city. in 2015, a brother named lamar johnson was pulled over by police in baker, louisiana, just a small town in east baton rouge parish where i live. he went to parish prison.
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a few days later, they said that he hung himself. this was right before sandra bland. i had used my platform to talk about trayvon martin and mike brown, and then something happened in my own backyard, so i wrote a column about it and 40,000 people read it. at that point, it was the biggest column i had ever written. at this point, they opened up a misdemeanor jail. my logic was if you cannot handle the people in parish prison that you run every day, then you cannot handle a misdemeanor jail, so i went to my first city council meeting. when i showed up, two dozen other young black men showed up. we spoke at the microphone and killed it, and i never stopped going. [cheers and applause]
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>> louisiana might be one of my favorite states in the country because i love essence festival in new orleans, but there's so much rich history, and i love the people of new orleans, and i love the people of louisiana where i have had an amazing opportunity to spend some time. being from baton rouge, we were talking a little earlier about some of the most important issues that are at the forefront of your campaign but also in the forefront of your mind. i love that you share a little bit more about the main issues where louisiana ranks, if it's with education, where louisiana ranks with opportunities, but also where louisiana ranks with the number of people that they imprison for nonviolent offenses. >> i live in the state that ranks 50th in the nation, so no matter how bad you think you've got it where you from, somewhere in louisiana, it is worse.
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we rank number 50 in crime, 49 in opportunity, 46th in health care, 49 in environmental quality, and we have had republicans running our legislature almost as long as i can remember. people asked me why i'm running for the senate. i live in the worst place in the country and i've got a guy who sounds like foghorn leghorn representing me. what you mean why am i running? when people ask why did you smoke a blunt in your first and, there are people in this country
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in jail for nonviolent offenses and decriminalizing it ain't enough. and every level, we should be having conversations about some of the immoral decisions we allowed to still remain in this country and i don't really care about being liked. i care about getting stuff done. [cheers and applause] >> i want to talk more about kevin allen and the driving force for you behind the work that you are doing, and i believe you will continue to do because the reality is that louisiana is winnable for you. louisiana is not a staunch red state. >> kevin allen is just one name of many men and women who are incarcerated, not just in
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louisiana but around this country, and you know, we have a president who has the ability to lead right now. we have a united states senate that has the ability to lead right now. if the feds move to d schedule, then they can create from the federal level what equitable policy looks like in this country which means the state cannot go beyond what the feds deeming legal. i think we need that level of movement so that people like kevin allen can get out of jail and that we don't leave it up to kay ivey in alabama to discern if somebody in jail ought to get free, right? if we've got to wait for brian kemp and kay ivey to let black folks out of jail or ron desantis in florida, we are dam ned, right? this not going to happen -- it
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is not going to happen. i live in a state with the state takes my tax dollars, grows weed and louisiana state university and southern university to sell to the medical market -- the state takes my money, grow the weed at the educational institutions, sell it to the people in the state and still got people in jail for it. if that isn't hypocrisy and duplicitous, i don't know what is. >> an absolute ludicrous policymaking. >> and we are paying $19,000 a year to jail every one of those people that are in jail rather than $11,000 a year to educate our children. if you want to know why we rank 48 and education, right? let's guess who doesn't rank 48 in education. colorado and weed is legal. they rank number four in education, right? they rank number four in
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education and it's been hundreds of millions of dollars from the cannabis industry to do it. hundreds of millions of dollars from the cannabis industry to build better schools and better roads. [cheers and applause] >> we can do all the math here. the math seems pretty straightforward and pretty simple. so when you win -- >> i like that. >> when you win -- [cheers and applause] when you win, can you lay out a couple of the top priorities you will focus on. you mentioned earlier you gained national attention for your first and. -- your first ad. the headlines for senate candidate smokes marijuana in
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ad, but there was a lot of other things you talked about. >> and for me, that is the meat and potatoes of this. i smoked for personal reasons, but the conversation is necessary for everything we have discussed thus far. and furthermore -- and i was with my press secretary. we went to a growth facility in maryland and when we walked out, she said i felt like i went to new jack city on steroids, right? and i'm going to tell you the truth. i have gone to growth facilities of cannabis companies owned by white people, right? i met a young lady named sarah who went to lsu and came to maryland and worked at this facility while black folks still in jail for it at home. as a black man, let me just be real with you -- nothing about this feels good. there's not enough black people
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in the facility they are building. don't tell me you about equity and there's no black folk when i'm walking through here. if that offends you, then you might be a little racist. and that's something you've got to deal with within yourself because when we talk about equity, if it is just in conversation, if i walk in a building i see one spot, that's your black friend, and that's not acceptable, right? if we are going to be equitable, then there should be representation. >> we look at everything from barriers to entry, we look at the fact that individuals leaving the penitentiary system really never leave because the stain is always with them, if its access to voting, access to capital if they wanted to enter into the cannabis industry, it is practically impossible.
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>> i did not answer your last question. let me get back to that, two priorities -- one is the economy and how we build an economy that works for everybody. the gas is high, the bread is high, the rent is high -- everything high. >> everything is to dam hi -- too damned high. >> and the minimum wage has not gone up. we won the u.s. congress, but the senate, we have a razor-thin majority that does not allow. that's number one. number two is figuring out how we build equity from the inside.
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i think there's a lot of folks there who have worked in government their whole life that represent us that have not actually built a business, work through these hurdles to understand that the government process of getting a piece of that pie is way too difficult, and that small minority-owned businesses, black-owned businesses have more of a challenge leveling up to be able to compete in that environment. there are numbers that will come out through the biden administration at some point about how much money is in the real system contracting for black and minority businesses. as a u.s. senator, i want to figure out how to unravel that. what we don't realize is this country talked about being anti-socialism, but corporate socialism exists in this country in every city, town, state, and every government. the government takes your tax dollars and put them into corporate interests that don't look like you, and as a result,
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they build big businesses and call it capitalism. >> mm, mm, and in. you assume the word socialism is a bad word until you realize what it is and how it actually plays out into our system. >> he said something that i want to make sure is clear. louisiana is winnable. we have a democrat as governor right now. they don't tell you that. he was elected with 536,000 votes. there are 900,000 registered black voters in black voters in the state of louisiana. there is 1.2 million eligible black voters predicted tells you most black folks vote for democrats. here is another thing, the governor of louisiana was elected with 450,000 votes that were black voters. if just black voters in louisiana go vote, we can beat john kennedy. [applause]
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the value is that the 30% of our state that is white agrees with us on the policies and process of how we build an equitable louisiana. the greatest challenges america has ever faced, many have been rooted in racism. we still deal with those things today. and people want to get beyond that point. when we get beyond that point is making sure there is representation at every level of government possible. we have to ask ourselves, why in the blackest states in america, louisiana and mississippi come has there not been a black as an elected date wide since reconstruction? and in wisconsin you can get a black man to be lieutenant governor and black folks are 12% of the population in wisconsin, 34% in louisiana and mississippi, 34% of the population in georgia. it is absolutely possible for this to be done.
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what is not happening is, the democratic party and people in the organizations that fund political movements have not taken the south seriously. joe biden would not be president if it wasn't for the south. how did he get there? south carolina. then, he swept through the south, when the party nomination and he became president. if we are forward-thinking people in the country and you are not paying attention real estate in the south, you are tripping. because the place where your money is going to go the furthest is in the south. guess what? we don't have as much traffic as y'all, ok? and our food is better. [applause] our food is better, but number three, that upper -- of the
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opportunities that exist there to redefine what a country can look like is limitless. and we get to build something there. i am tired of looking at whatever but else built. i want to see what we can build, what the next generation and build. what will be the next great city of america westmark i believe it is going to be in louisiana and i am going to work hard for it. >> we are looking to wrap up, unfortunately. but it is not the end of the conversation, it is really just the beginning. most of the people in the audience right now and many streaming online are not louisiana voters. how can we support you? quacks -- >> if you have already given a contribution, thank you.
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we have raised 790 $2000 in the first quarter of our fundraising, which is a big deal. we have done that with myla -- with small dollar contributions from all around the country. we have a strategy, raise the money outside and spend the money inside on a grassroots movement to win the election. we are going to organize bus trips over the summer where people can spend a weekend with us and do doorknocking. i know you all like to go to new orleans, but there is other places in louisiana. i need y'all to spread it around a little bit. but those are the things -- volunteer from where you are. if you can't come to louisiana, we are going to have phone banking this summer. and if you say you want me to win, i cannot do this alone. i am one man with a team of
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people that can only do so much. but we can target voters, call them, agitate the atmosphere, build a ground game. you can help us by phone banking, donating and getting on the bus. those are the three main ways that people can help us. we have been unapologetic of showing people but the behind-the-scenes of this looks like, because most people don't understand what it takes to run a political campaign. for me, we make that available to people so they can see where your money is going. these shirts eight -- aint free these consultants in the room ain't free. consultants we have hired that produce these ads that have been the biggest in the country are
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black and brown consultants. why does that matter? because in the political world where we have 100 u.s. senators, the majority of people that make the money of those hundreds of millions of dollars invested in politics are not black and brown people. if we wonder why we have inequity, is because all the money is going in one direction. if we want to fix the crime, spread the wealth. crime is a poverty issue. and we need to talk about that. and why black men are smoking weed -- because the government are whooping our ass everyday. you need a blood debt to being a black man in america. [applause] that is the reality that we deal with. and not just blacks. if you are any marginalized group in the country and you walk out your door, you are faced with the reality of an
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institution of government discriminating against you at some point. that is not acceptable. make it legal so people can ease their minds, if you're not going to ease the regulations that you are stressing us out with. i am sorry, i was on my soapbox. >> you are a natural storyteller, and stories need to be told. as you said, there is so much more to louisiana than new orleans and these other places. i do love louisiana cuisine, i feel like we do crab cakes better here. >> crab cakes. we do everything else. >> we will give them some. but what i think is really powerful is your use of storytelling and the fact you came from a storytelling background, whether it be the
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first article you wrote that received over 40,000 views, to your use of digital storytelling with your first ad that gained international and national news, and the ability of people, whether it is the shock and awe of lighting up a blunt in your ad, but the reality is, it was a tool to draw people in to hopefully listen to you and the issues and points you are making about the challenges facing louisiana. >> i am a spiritual man. i grew up in the church. and you don't have to be a believer to understand what i am about to say. but there is a scripture that says it takes the foolish things in the world to confound the wise. smoking the blunt made people talk about kevin allen. smoking the blunt is creating this conversation today to talk with you about how we flip that space.
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it has created an avenue for us to be all over the country, pushing an agenda to talk about louisiana politics. when was the last time you heard anybody talking about louisiana politics? it takes the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. >> i can think of a better way to rock this up. mr. chambers, thank you so much for your time. he is going to be around a little while, you guys. so if you are interested in learning more about his campaign -- >> there is a fundraiser tonight, too. 9:00 p.m. at the eaton hotel. any of the people in these shirts right here can get you the information you need. [applause] and it would be wrong of me not to make sure that you know we have a fundraiser tonight. >> tonight at 9:00 at the eaton hotel if you can make it. if you can't come up one of the other big things is chairing.
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please -- sharing. please make sure that you share what you heard today, social media platforms and also word-of-mouth. we undervalue word-of-mouth. it is really important. we all know someone impacted by the injustices we have discussed today. we want to make sure we continue this conversation off the stage. thank you, i appreciate you all being here. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> good afternoon, everyone. i am director of government affairs at asa. we represent more than 5 million medical cannabis patients around
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this country. this is also a big week for asa. on tuesday, we celebrated our 20th anniversary of advocating for cannabis patients. [applause] thank you. this week, i have been doing reflecting on just how far we have come since asa was born. we think back two years ago, i was still very much in school, very much in the dare classes. "reefer madness" was still prevalent. there class asked asa we believe medical cannabis and recreational cannabis can and should coexist. however, there are special considerations to take into account when you think about
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cannabis patients. when you think about people who have debilitating medical conditions, abuses, disabilities. they need protections like housing protection. they need extra affordability protection so these people who have to rely on cannabis as a medication and do not have the choice of getting a dose. every year americans we have access to the state of the state report and i'd be remiss if i did not take this opportunity to plug it. you can access the reports at access now.board .sos and did this report we go three all 50 states and us territories and medical cannabis programs based on not what they say in the law but how they work for patients. what does social and health equity look like's what does affordability look rklike? ! a alert for this year not a single state in a.
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i believe our highest grade was a b+ and the average across the country was a whopping be usso we still have a long way to go even when we talk aboutmedical cannabis but we also as you all know along way to go when we talk about recreational cannabis as well . another thing that was very obvious in our state to state report is the fact that federal and in action is arming patients and individuals across this country. not just medical cannabis patients but individuals in the criminal justice system for possession or use of something that is legal for a majority of americans now. that's why we introduced a video message from
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congressman nancy mase, of south carolina's first district. she's become a party later on cannabis issues and what is so unique and special about representative mace from the ss highs of americans for faith access is she's one of a handful of policymakers not just at the federal level but at the federal state or local level have shared their story of being a cannabis patient and using medical cannabis. representative mace comes from a unique standpoint. she was in the fight for medical cannabis patients and understands the reality of where we are now. in the words of representative mace there are three things that can unite americans around the dinner table. animals and cannabis and that asa we look forward to working with representative mace and advocates in the room today, advocates online are not able to make it. advocates doing ngwork on the state grant as well as cannabis patients to make this a reality. we should live in a world
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where everyone has access to something that is safe especially parents who can receive a health benefit from it including children. there are 5.1 million cannabis patients across this on country and we are past time for regulating it at the federal level. these patients deserve our help and that's why i am excited to represent or sorry, excited to introduce representative mace is at the forefront in the erepublican party on cannabis policy issues. [applause] >> good afternoon everyone, it's congresswoman nancy mase and i thank you for the opportunity to talk to you ld all. i wish i could be there in person but i just wrapped up a townhall in my district. i represent south carolina's firstcongressional district . i i want to thank normal for
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reaching across the aisle on this issue. cannabis is as american as apple pie i've been saying and both republicans and democrats alike have fumbled the ball on this particular issue. this really shouldn't be a partisan issue. i've done icpolling and research on it and republicans, the vast majority of them are just as supportive as democrats on many of these issues . we are talking about giving states the power to do cannabis reform and putting in a few regulatory pieces, a little bit of oversight. low taxes so businesses can operate and getting micro lending and finances to building to to protect our veterans and various different communities but we need the criminal automation doneat the federal level .
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and we got to get it across the finish line. we got to allow businesses to operate legally way they have been for almost 2 decades in some places and we've got to stop opthe illegal markets and look at the in action across the nation. it's not good enough to say your supportive of cannabis reform and don't do anything about it. that's not good enough so i appreciate the opportunityto be with you all. if i was in dc i'd be there with you all . i want to thank her for passing the torch, for reaching across the aisle and i'm proud to be standing'with each and every one ofyou . we all agree we should get this done at the federal level and it's past time to do that and i'm going to work with each and every one of you to get it done . [applause]
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>> ... hi everyone. i'm so excited edto be here today because i believe that no one should be in prison for pot. [applause] my name is gracie byrd. i'm policy director at the lpd. it is a nonpartisan io organization focused on the intersection of criminal justice and cannabis reform. our legal and reentry teams provide direct services for our constituents around the country and i'm on our policy team that provides technical assistance to stakeholders working to advance just
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cannabis laws. our philosophy is that smart cannabis policy reforms build the momentum and proof of concept for broader legal system reform and lbp we believe that simply legalizing is not enough. true legalization necessitates accountability to the origins of prohibition which has ravaged poor and minority communities for decades. looking forward by creating new markets is only half the job and disingenuousone at that without looking back at the harms . to us the most urgent component of repealing tprohibition is finding retroactive relief to the victims of the war on cannabis. it is on their backs that cannabis is initiated today. that's why lpd not only supports our constituents with commissary funds, advocacy campaigns and legal services but runs policy campaigns onstate initiatives , state initiated
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resentencing. it is fundamentally unjust that across the country thousands of people are still serving for activity just outside the prison gates now create enormous processes for others. we're thrilled to see state record plans but a lot of you know as expungement moves into the mainstream. and understanding in many jurisdictions that this is a critical component of legalization. at the very least those offenses that have been struck from the criminal code 02 must be struck from people's criminal history and they shouldn't have to petition or pay for it. ti[applause] expungement does not rip free people from prison. for that we need resentencing legislation. all those still serving jail, prison and community
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supervision terms could rshould receive guaranteed sentencing reviews in light of legalization and they shouldn't have topetition or pay for it . [applause] we agree. sentence reviews must be provided not just so mrelative to you serving sentences for the lowest level cannabis offenses now legalized in some state. there's still a lot left on the books that criminalized. they should be for all those serving sentences related to how cannabis has been violently enforced and prosecuted in this country. state initiated resentencing and record clearance are not blue or red policies. they are human centered data-driven policies supported by a wide evidence base that shows not only those retroactive relief, not
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sent in public safety, it supports it. these are urgent policies to bring ourconstituents and loved ones home and ensure full freedom for them . nvi'm looking forward to this next conversation from our distinguished speaker and with that it's my privilege to welcome to the stage how can cannabis legalization be marginalized alfor individuals. thank you all. [applause] >> hello, welcome. thanks for being here today. i am a former longtime reporter at the washington post and now edit editor of vox.com and i'm continue to
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be interested in this world so i'm excited to jebe talking about the subject that has entered the mainstream and is part of the conversation when states and federal governments investigate policy and i want to give a little bit of an overview before we getstarted . you guys know the landscape, there are pop legalized in 10 states and thousands of americans remain incarcerated . but in addition we have hundreds of thousands of americans continue to carry criminal records that affect their ability to find housing, to find work. to ,jeremiah mentioned even volunteer at their kids schools which is striking to me. according to the aclu, what makes this so a justice issue as much as a race issue is that marijuana use is roughly equal among black and white people yet if you are black you are nearly 4 times as likely to be arrested on a marijuana charge.
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five years ago many americans might at half erheard terms like the carburetion, expungement or equity in licensing and today thanks to the efforts of the people on the stage criminal justice reform and cannabis is rapidly becoming central to the national conversation. with the above to introduce everybody. this is princewhite, she's 80 cards duration director of live free . to her left we have jeremiah from americans for prosperity . he has a background in legal support and to my right is claamra ahmad, a former public defender in courtrooms. [applause] let's get started
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with jeremiah and get a sense about the landscape i was talking about. after decades of this war how many americans are in jail for marijuana naconvictions and how many have prior conditions on the record. >> we know currently there are 80 million americans, one in four currently have a criminal record. there are 4 million americans that have been arrested just in 2012 when the first stage began to legalize adult use of cannabis so even though we're moving forward we still have millions of americans that are being saddled by this lifelong criminal record. we don't know how many are on the state level because states don't track a lot of the data so how many people are there in total for drug conditions but we don't know for each type. we know that just on the federal level there are 3000 people incarcerated for
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cannabis in the federal prison system.and that's too many. that's 3002 many so we think it's time to end back and just for those in this audience who may nothave been through this experience themselves , criminal records even a minor misdemeanor possession charge carries with it lifelong impact. your ability to secure employment six percent of people access prison cannot secure employment. lithere lifelong earnings are down by 50 percent and if it's even a misdemeanor conviction, you've never actually even been under supervision. your earnings go down by 16 percent. that makes itharder to take care of your family and deal with the increasing cost of living that all of us are facing in many cities across the country and that's not the only barrier .
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there are barriers to housing such as those who leave prison are 10 times more likely to be homeless and that's not acceptable and even people who are trying to get ahead and secure education and move forward and try to overcome these barriers. there are so many state and federal policies that epkeep them from accessing basic undergraduate education so these barriers are lifelong and they hold people back from achieving their potential and that is ti something we want to see an end to today, not tomorrow. >> it's so wonderful we have brett who's experienced the drug war in their own personal life. glad that you could share your story and your experience. >> i'm so grateful to be here because i want to talkabout people who've been affected by the criminal legal system . it's often from a male perspective and experience so women are also affected and impacted by the criminal legal system. myself at the age of 23 i was arrested in alabama in a
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little rural county called st. clair racounty for trafficking marijuana and what i remember about that experience was being so completely ignorant about what i didn't know about my rights from the legal system to how my car was searched. how the district attorneys offices are. how many backdoor favors you have to be in the realm m of to even be considered for treatment. and i'll one of the few people who made the conscious decision to strike a jury and go to trial and in that experience in going to try out i was called a menace to society. that just did not reflect my dignity or my sanity or my perspective on what i have become trying to earn money that way and witnessing all of the awful impacts of women
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being incarcerated in rural alabama, a place i've never lived and where i didn't have any support system. i came home with a deep sense of urgency just to become engaged in the public arena and make people aware of the process. and in coming into the ngworld of community organizing i have connected with so many people across the country who had similar experiences and i think of my colleagues in the illinois who is working on what they call a fully free campaign which addresses all the collateral consequences that people who have been impacted by the criminal legal system have lived in the illinois legislature and the last thing i'll say is having a formerly incarcerated identity is a difficult balancing act because you constantly compete with this caricature of a person that people
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create in their mind where they feel entitled to the most painful details of your story and also trying to use your experience as expertise to push for a different policy that has is substance specific to what they need to be impactful the challenge that i'll give this room is that policies created for formerly incarcerated people should not be created without a separate table . we are able . [applause] >> what is often done with good intentions t just often gets lost in translation and in execution and so those very specific details that we need in order to make them impactful it's essential why we be at the table. >> what policies would you like to see? >> definitely rolling back
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mandatory minimums. i had athree year mandatory minimum.in the state of alabama so what that meant was i was a maximum security those first three years . not because of my behavior and my security risk but just the fact that i have that mandatory minimum in my paperwork affected my eligibility to go to a work camp . it affected my eligibility to be able to just have any of the freedoms that are available in prison and what is so interesting is that trafficking marijuana in the state of alabama is a class a felony. another class a felony in the state of alabama is manufacturing meth. and both of them have different connotations. in arkansas it's who is affiliated with creating these crimes. if you manufacture meth there is no mandatory minimum and most of those white young ladies were eligible to go to drug rehabilitation programs in lieu of going to present . those same opportunities
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need to be made available for people who have trafficking, especially marijuana charges in order to give them a pathway to home as well. [applause] >> i think as a journalist five or 10 years ago people wouldn't have responded to a story likeyours . i still continue to hear that sometimes but the conversation i think around criminal justice has shifted. in part because of the work of applicants like yourself. >> can i respond to that? i don't shy away from people who challenge me that i broke the law but when i was challenged just as a society is how do we care for children. often times there are echoes that identify who have the highest propensity to enter our criminal legal system and if you scale their socioeconomic wellness
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factors as food apartheid and infrastructure, it is not a part where we have not figured out how to teach children well before we talk about public safety. so my indictment i will take my shortcomings but society also has to be careful and take accountability how do we not have care for the lowest in our country and the most impacted. >> i'm sorry. >> thank you. as a journalist i think we're in this justice focused moment around canada's. really within the last few years. a value shift takes work and i love to hear from you, what has been happening behind the scenes the last several years
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to where state legislature now includes expungement provisions and federal legislation includes expungement in the name. i think we're seeing this very much as part of the conversation. how did that happen, what is the history of that ? >> marijuana legalization is very much about the war on drugs and racial justice. so with the war on drugs, with the expansion of mass incarceration we are finding that marijuana laws and other laws are touching everyone. they're touching more and more people and our family members, our friends, people in our community because it's so expensive and it touches on so many different facets of a person's life. i think that has really been part of the public education and the movement in support of the public for changing some of these olaws.
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the collateral consequences are particularly troubling in .that we're focused on here today. jeremiah mentioned some of the collateral consequences s. they have an arrest record or criminal record related to marijuana. even if you don't have a criminal record or an arrest record because of a marijuana offense, there are collateral consequences. so a mother who is in public housing, if someone in her residence uses marijuana on theproperty she can lose her public housing . if a disabled person or low income person who gets public benefit is found to have used marijuana it's possible for them to lose their public benefits. if a parent uses marijuana that can be evidence that it's used in family court to take their child away from them . and people who are
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noncitizens who are immigrants can eolose their status in this country. be deported and be subject to family separationbecause of marijuana use without conviction . so this is an issue that has just touched so many different groups and i know that my work and my organization the aclu has been hand-in-hand with groups like the marijuana justice coalition that has worked federally to draft legislation that into includes expungement provisions and that was very much in response to the collateral consequences that we see people facing in our communities . it was also inspired by bills like the marijuana justice act which was introduced by barbara lee in the house and cory booker in the senate several years ago. that included expungement provisions so bills like the
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more act as you mentioned as the word expungement in it. the e is for expungement and that's building upon the work of past legislators to address collateral consequences . an organizations that helped to draft that bill. have a very diversemembership . they include drug legacy drug policy organizations, the drug policy alliance and norml. they include incarcerated people or groups. they include veterans groups and represent the interest of patients to. and i think that having that diversity of viewpoints in the lobbying process and drafting process has helped to make sure that collateral consequences is in the consequences that result from criminalizing, over criminalizing marijuana are addressed in federal
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legislation and state legislation. >> one thing people might be surprised to learn is how bipartisan support for both legalization, decriminalization and also some justice provisions have become. can you talk about that jeremiah? >> a lot of people are shocked if they haven't paid a lot of attention that we're sitting on the stage together today but we work together a lot and our localchapters and affiliates work together on criminal justice reform and drug policy reform because this is a bipartisan issue . everyone in america leaves and the reality of a redemption and second chances and we can come together to ensure everyone has that ability to have a second chance that's the reason why we are working with hand-in-hand with the itaclu and with a diverse coalition of full to push forward criminal justice reform whether it be sentencing reform or reentry reform.
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>> who are some of the republican in the house and senate who are supporting some of this legislation. >> we just saw a representative nancy mase on the screen here. we saw representative joyce on the atscreen. that's back with aoc, which deals with expungement as well and we have a long line of republicans stepping up with other bills like the clean slate act atthe beginning which provides second chances to people with a criminal record . >> why is it that that kind of shift seems to be happening? we think about the drug war and the folks who have the most strict ideas about legislation and three strikes and you're out? for a lot of people i think in lockstep with the gop. >> the reality is people have realized the point about evidence-based to this.
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helping someone get a second chance is what's good for public safety . and of course it's good for them and their families. it's a win-win for yoeveryone in our society and republicans and democrats alike have come to the table to say this is what's best for our country and we're going to move forward on this issue . >> you mentioned that your record, your record has given access to a lot of things and one of those things that part of the access issue is who gets to, you were talking about dealing in marijuana which is where now we're seeing folks adding rich and how does that make you feel and what are some of the things that can be done about that ? >> so to piggyback off of jeremiah! when i go to a dispensary
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it's never empty. i never walk in and i'm the only customer who is being served which lets me know there is a large diverse vecoalition of people who indulge across the country. however that diverse customer base does not seem cuto be getting the benefits of entering the industry. and the disproportionate rate of black folks who have been labeled as felons and received drug trafficking and marijuana charges. when you look at the marijuana industry including profiting legitimately and largely male and white and even before states legalized, there is an organized group p of people who are ready to come into the state , get somehow when the majority of
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the licensing draws and have the liquid wealth to be able to establish the actual dispensaries and many different beneficial ways of beneficial parts of the marijuana industry. i callbullshit . and the reason i call bullshit is because at the age of 23 when i was trying to just establish dignity and a pathway to wealth for my life i was amenace to society . but you as the entrepreneur coming into michigan and illinois to legalize marijuana, you are an economic genius. and i am tired of america continuing to be innovative in ways to raise wealth of black communities.
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we cannot just come together as a bipartisan coalition and say that we all want to indulge in a healthy way. we have to make that process equitable from top to bottom so if i decide to get in the marijuana industry than i should have access. it should not be a gatekeeper industry where i have to know this person or that person or i have to jump on and take it with a veteran in order to be eligible to get in that field . e[applause] >> there are efforts that are going on nationwide to make sure that states legalized and that these choices are available to formally convicted people.viam i correct? >> i would say there's positive and negative momentum happening now. for decades the decades by
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partisans have been working to remove other opposition but something we've been tracking at afe is states are establishing new lmarkets and edwe're seeing him of those old models. established by the folks passing these bills will i want to follow up with brett and pose a challenge to those w supporting legalization. make sure second chance is part of your priority list. do not allow them to fall by the wayside because what we're seeing and we are seeing states reimpose licensing barriers and impose the legal standards that prohibit people with a criminal record from working at cannabis dispensaries and that's not acceptable. that's not an acceptable thing for us to do and i will not name names but i've had multiple executives at cannabis companies tell me we need to keep people with a criminal record out of this industry because it hurts and that's not true. people with a criminal record have tisomething to contribute to this industry. >> and if i can jump in to.
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that's why it's so important legislation includes social justice programming. for example the more act includes a community reinvestment program there is a tax on marijuana products and all of that all of those funds go back f into communities that are most impacted by marijuana prohibition and over criminalization. and those funds go to ib creating a more inclusive marijuana market and marijuana regulated marijuana market. with job training and with small business administration loans and all of those to make sure that people can can participate. >> this conversation brings
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me into my last question but also one of the most contentious points over the course of the day. right before thisconversation i talked to justin and i said which process policy that's out there right now, which legislation is going to fix this ? he said there isn't one. and i think that's a really poignant point to make and it needs to be ybcommunicated to everybody awhich is there's so many things to think about . we're seeing states legalized and appears separately there's movements legalized at the federal level and i think there's an argument for both that's happening even among folks and i wanted to hear from each of you what is the best strategy for both legalizing marijuana and to fix the equity and justice issue? i want to start with aamra ahmad. is it federal legalization or is it states?
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>> it's got to be both because of the criminalization collateral consequences that exist at the federal level. and the reason why federal legislation is important is because right now it's standing in the way of state efforts that have tried to legalize people who are in those days who want to be consumers have hanging over them to be filed prosecuted in federal court. people who want to start a business have a fear of losing that business because of federal law so that federalprohibition laws that are on the books really need to get out of the way . so that states can legalize on their own. there should also be support from the federal government as well as it's important for the federal government to be involved cause they can help noncitizen communities and make sure that barriers that are currently up for them and
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also the consequences that immigrants face because of marijuana use can be alleviated . >> what do you think? >> i would echo everything aamra said but the current legislation is choosing not to enforce federal law is not a sustainable solution. it is a problem. we congress to step in and and it's because what we're seeing is the department of justice teasing money that is earned from legal cannabis businesses through civil forfeiture by co-opting local law enforcement to do that. they say they're not enforcing the law but they still are imposing harm on people even when they're wh falling to the key state law and there are doctors, there are patients that cannot access these products. veterans cannot access it and the administration will not talk about this.
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so as long as the federal government has this law in place are so many problems that continue to be perpetuated . regardless ifwe get all 50 states to legalized . and brett made an interesting point when we talk about we know what's happening with our country right now in terms of prioritization and the laws being passed . how does that affect your argument? >> i was in dallas texas and many of you might be, might know our esteemed governor greg abbott. and how he has followed suit with so many different southern governors that they have passed a slew of policies in the last 18 months. so it's the right to permanently carry a weapon. heavily restricting voting rights and heavily
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restricting access to abortion. so in that current climate i do not want them to have sole jurisdiction about my rights to use cannabis. and i am torn when we think about the country i always think about the deep red and how it would be executed there. because in texas if it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make sense. if we so we have to continue to put fiscal responsibilities and incentives in front of southern states and that is the only way that they are going to be swayed to have any type of adequate ability or access to marijuana in the south. furthermore i will say that these laws and policies should not be passed without first bringing home every single individual in this country who has been impacted by marijuana charge. shout out to my colleague.
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she not me who is over the queens slate initiative which is working to clean the records of people who have been impacted by incarceration like we cannot just pass these policies but if there's going to be any financial incentive gor government or four states, it also has to mean the liberation of people who have been impacted by these charges. >>. >> to be honest i will leave it up to these policy experts on how we can continue with the government.i see my role as giving mylist experience . i was incarcerated for five years on that trafficking marijuana charge. i was in prison for 20 years which would have been 15 years on probation if i did not go back to my judge and appeal my probation to be overturned.
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but unfortunately the reality is my experience is not isolated. thit's many people who have been sentenced and fined $250,000. you think you're hurting from your student loans, imagine getting $150,000 fine for having marijuana or a trafficking charge for 2.2 pounds of marijuana in the state of alabama. and hundred 50,000, how many people can afford to pay that across a lifetime? i want these conversations around legalization, implementation also to include deliberation literally and financially for incarceratedpeople . [applause] >> do you have time for questions? don't be scared. >> we have to might. >>.
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[inaudible] >>. [inaudible] how do we continue to untangle ... [inaudible] >> jeremiah, you've been working on getting rid of the box. >> it takes all of us. it takes businesses stepping
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up and deciding to take that box off their application and hire people with criminal records.>> have you been convicted. >> we see businesses stepping up and doing that both for financial reasons and because they see it's best for their community. if you take a look at second chance coalition you'll see there are fortune 500 companies that continue to step up and join the call to say we are going to actually not only remove the box, were going to intentionally remove these people because it brings innovation to our workforce. i think it takes us as i individual citizens to look beyond our own stigmas regardless of how much we interact with others we all have something that we may not actually have experience so we have to work through those things ourselves and overcome those internal stigmas because it's not just laws that keep people back its social stigma so we have to work through thatourselves . it takes all of us just one step at a time and we have a lot to do as a country and a lot of steps to go. >> i would say use some of
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your social l capital. i have been offered probably about five jobs in the last two months from oopeople who know me or have come across me so when you look at influence, how are you leveraging those relationships to change some of the protocols where you have autonomy? how have you challenged that process and maybe we need to update this 1995 employee handbook. however we talked to our apartment complexes about i don't feel unsafe living next to somebody who has a marijuana policy because every time the dog poops in the wrong place and i have to find some type of initiative to get a policy put into place for that, where are you in charge and that circle of influence that you have to be more beneficial for those directly impacted people?
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it is within your own sphere of influence as an organizer i believe grassroots change and some of the long-term change that happens we cannot wait for the government to be our savior. >> can i that please? >> we have to start within ourown neighborhoods to bring ow about change . >> my son is facing a federal cannabis charge. he's going to trial in federal court on a conspiracy charge. to distribute marijuana. he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 to life. it's still going on, this is still happening. my question to you as the group, joe biden made promises to all the american people and he said he was going to release these people . he hasn't done it. it's crickets. crickets right now and it's
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been going on 2 years. he's on a conspiracy charge. you don't understand conspiracy. my point is this, how do we get joe biden to act across all he has to do is sign something. the memorandum was a phenomenal document that helped a lot of people. how can we make action and take action to help these people? it's just a ussignature. it just takes one man to sign this. thousands told home. what is wrong? what is happening in this country. why are people, they're not aware. what can we do to raise that level and get joe to act? >> one of the unfortunate realities, one of the unfortunate realities of this situation is this does not become a champion issue for folks until it happens to you or your family member or
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person thatyou care about . so the personal investment that you feel in this issue its lost upon other people who that has not been there lived experience . the other reality is joe biden is the president of the united states. your issue is the congress you need a president who has a political will and capital to be able to navigate the senate and house and that is what he promised to do. he told us he was a statesman who could get it done and has yet to be ableto do so . >> he's been a big disappointment to all of us. >> that is your ideology. i'm disappointed in that other area but i continue to challenge you that until we get ina senate majority that is actually a senate majority to get some of this past we don't we will continue to lose voters rights.
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we will continue to lose marijuana policies and without congress we will all remain disappointed . >> it's unfortunate that people will sit in jail longer because of that. this is going to take years. >> he has to be convicted to be part. >> thank you for your time thanks for all of your time . [applause] >> any other questions? >> i have a question. i'm with the national association of black cannabis lawyers and i want to get some information. what would you recommend is the best way to reach out to advocates withinstates . look at this from a birds eye view, from a federal level. it's important that we do anthe work in the space that is also important that we keep
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our eyes on what's happening at the federal level when it comes to issues of social equity and justice so that the laws that often times slips into the next while we are distracted don't go into process and leave us in a position where we're looking at 10 years down the line say how do weget left out ? how is it that we are the purchases of the same plant we were being incarcerated from. how do we correct that and what's the best way to reach out to advocates such as yourself ?t >> there are lots of ways to reach out. do at the state level, to affiliates. there are organizations that i think we ndcould be in a little bit more information about some of the work that you're doing and i love for you to connectpersonally . >> thank you. >> i would say get connected to a national network. there's been about 20 different states. there are e, the center for
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popular democracy just established a national coalition that includes the council, formerly incarcerated counsel for women and girlsand a number of different other national networks . this city is connected to thesepeople who have a base of. across the country. i love to connect you after the panel . >> that's what iwould say to everyone sitting around you . >> thank you for your time. >> any more questions? >>. >> my name is sheila williams. i am executive director of an organization that works with citizens in pretrial support. i think a lot of a lot is missing from the conversation on resentencing. when we talk about paying into committees that have
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been harmed by the war on drugs is disregarding the process of gentrification and how those people have been pushed out so how do we support influence now before we get into legalization with the business and resources with the capital so that we're not dependent on the government and also bringing people home and making sure that before we enter this legal market those people who sit in prison today still get the opportunity to build their generational wealth because those people have that this industry and in our legislation while i thought for a decade for expungement when we gotour first expungement bill passed , our legislators said the people who sat in prison could wait. and this year again they left them sitting in prison because the political climate em change. that we didn't want to bring them home because a lot of those people benefit of mass incarceration so how do we
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start the conversation of getting people out of here well we're having g these conversations about getting this great legal market started knowing we have all these issues? i want to know what is our best path to getting people there who we know will be wleft out if they don't have the resources ? >> i would say all organizing is local. particularly in states like mine where you're not going to get a lot of level support pushing your county commissioners office. what did you do with those american rescue plan dollars that came out? that is an opportunity to use to advocate for those dollars th to be used for reentry in different programs that will benefit that demographic . right now just about all our counties are finalizing their budget for the next year financially what are your line item priorities and how are you organizing other individuals who might pull up and say we want our money or what are you doing with our budget. in addition also making sure that these dollars are allocated for non-violence
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prevention efforts. just about summertime a lot of people have been in the house that we want to make sure we're all able to be well and healthy . just making sure that you are putting financial accountability on your local governments for what they're doing with all these federal dollars andnot just getting is all the police . >> it's my sense to that expungement has moved further along in the conversation. the resentencing is rather new. i was talking about it as it came on that resentencing is kind of in early stages in the conversation and what are easome ways to elevate that aspect of the justice system. >> i think in spite of it goes hand-in-hand. if you're going to do and expungement then you also need to review and release
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people who are currently serving. i'm going to be the journalists and say i think it's hard for people. it's hard for people to fathom the idea of just releasing people during cobit. we saw when there were efforts that were made to release nonviolent felons and people who were particularly at risk. people who were freaking out about the idea of releasing people and you know, how does that value change. >> i think it's being approximate with people. i had the opportunity to go to into many folks that are in prison and hear their stories and their backgrounds and i always leave those moments of course emotionally drained but also realizing that all it would have taken is one different decision in
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my life and i could have been on the other side. rsand i think it's a lot of people that are not in prison maybe with another group that's different from them that ththey would not be that type of person but the reality is the conspiracy charges that stwere just discussed a second ago, one different decision acan make cothe difference so how do we become more proximate ourselves and how we bring those to be more proximate. realize they're just like us. >> is a narrative fight. there is a dominant narrative among who is in prison and what they're there for and one thing america has done a great job of his sensationalizing crime . we fhighlight the worst moments in society and then we uplift them on what everybody needs to be afraid of and it repels us a whole
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incarcerated community instead of breaking up that narrative and talking about there are innovative people in jail, there are innovative people given the opportunity and science and study have shown n e the older person gets in prison, the longer they serve time their propensity to reoffend is significantly drops. so just continuing to put that out there we have to win that fight to change hearts and minds. >> that narrative change is possible around gay marriage, around marijuana legalization . around sexual harassment. we've seen part of the last how many years for americans i think there's real promise in the narrative shift. >> any questions. >> first i want to thank all of you for being on this
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paneland thinking and talking about this topic . [applause] >> i know how difficult it is to sit there and tell your story and decide what parts you want to tell. you got a mandatory minimum, i got a mandatory minimum for conspiracy to distribute. i just got out at 19. >> welcome home. [applause] but at this time yesterday i was in miami at an investor conference speaking on this whole topic. the whole environment is different. they're there to make money where as our power panel was legacy and legal. let's get back to those
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legacy members because i'm now happy to be home. happy to beworking with gracie and the last prisoner project and i feel your passion for it . i'd say keep going and i'll be looking for a new job. >> we have time for one more quickly? >> i want to ask was she able to bond out before you wentto trial ? >> i would say after i was incarcerated i was initially held with no bond at the $250,000 bond and i bounded out on $90,000. >> i was able to meet my trafficking charges to thank the lord. i want to tell the
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congresswoman please have a a right to grow so we are in that space. if i don't sell it myself you can't tax me on nothing. people grow their own beer, you can't track somebody. that's all. >>. >> i was wanting to do something similar. thank you for sharing your stories and for shifting us in that narrative. in the recent years and decades since i don't use elegalization and we primarily seen men incarcerated over the war on drugs and the war on humanity and a special thank you for the work that you're doing. the preservation of indigenous stories is important to the work that we're doing. we've seen this shift to elevate and uplift what's happening in indigenous communities as well as to
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reconnect the history that repatriation of history. because all thiscoconversation where talking about . if we dig deeper beyond the history and look at her story we will find that indigenous people have been holding down the sacred and sacraments. and on our issues we try to elevate what's happening in those communities and the jefferson piece metal if you look closely at the jefferson peace metal it has the peace pipe on the metal. that was used to come out o here in that bartering and trading land swap that t eventually happened but i also serve as the president of the idaho affiliate of the aclu so i wanted to say thank you for your representation on behalf of the work that you're doing here. as wellas media, media plays a very important role in that narrative . so to see women of color was mein the space makes my heart just super happy.
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each and every one of you should give yourself a pat on the back and a big hug and realized that what we're doing now is very historic. >> .. we are definitely going to get some good work done. that's where our new executive director is. keep up the great work, everybody. >> that a good way to end it. thank you all for being here and thanks all ofr you for your stories, your insights, for your real talk about where we are in terms of policy and moving the
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needle forward on justice. thank you, guys. [applause] >> for anyone present here today and those watching virtually, my name is queen adesuyi and i'm a manager with the alliance. we are a national advocacy organization that promotes policies grounded in evidence, dignity and compassion. we fight every day to end the war on drugs. today at the utmost honor to introduce age special message coming from it even more special member of congress, barbara lee. she has been one of congressesle -- give it up for barbara lee. [applause]
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>> she has been one of congresses fiercest champion for marijuana reform. particularly reform in racial justice and equity. for decades, the youth, possession and the sale of this plant that far too many of us to personally as a human agent have been used as a tool for state violence come disproportionally impacting black and bright individuals, families and communities and folks with low or no income. it's been four years since she first introduced marijuana justice act. it was the very first bill in congress that ended federal marijuana prohibition with a focusen on adjusting racial disparities. it wasas groundbreaking in his conclusion of language to reinvest in communities hardest hit by what enforcementst and racistst policing. she pioneered efforts to make marijuana justice policy a priority for the congressional
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black caucus. shes. spotted the first of a wanted justice panel at the 47th annual legislative conference hosted by congressional black caucus foundation. she actively helped to bring our colleagues along and advocates ever to connect the dots marijuana reform and its issues whether civil rights, criminal justice reform, , emigration, public benefits and economic justice. ago, we were painting the picture that it's not a matter of if but how. representative lee has been committed to seeing through this vital focus on health. the marijuana justice act is the foundation of the more act. representative lee and her leadership have helped us get to the point where we saw two successful passages of comprehensive legislation in the house. we should give it up for them. [applause] as we celebrate our successes in
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the house and gear up for the fight in the senate, i'm excited to be able to honor a fearless leader and be able to facilitate giving her flowers. thank you to barbara lee for her commitment to marijuana justice and her commitment to equity in the fight. without further ado, let's tune into the remarks that representative barbara lee offered for us today. [applause] >> hello everyone. i'm barbara lee and i proudly represent california's beautiful congressional district which includes oakland. it's an honor to be speaking with you all today and i thank each and everyone of you for fighting for cannabis justice. the diversity of voices here at the national cannabis policy summit will give our movement strength and keep justice rooted at its foundation. as cochair of the cumbers -- congressional congress, i'm
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aware of how far behind the federal government is on cannabis reform. as more and more states continue to modernize how we regulate and decriminalize cannabis, it's crucial that we catch up and and the war on drugs at a federal level. progress is being made. weeks ago, we passed the more act in the house for the second time, the most comprehensive cannabis legislation to date. it was an incredible step forward in righting the wrongs of the failed and racist war on drugs. we have so much more work to do. we are the closest we've ever been to finally end the failed war on drugs. the consequent is of which have fallen so heavily on black and brown communities. it's the closest we've been to getting mastery sentencing and expungement for those with marijuana convictions. it lays out a new future for the
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industry, one where those who have suffered most from criminalization have paths for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry. this is so important. equity on all levels. we never would have gotten it through the house if it weren't for the passion and focus of dedicated activists like yourself. the groups represented here today represent a broad swath of the american political landscape and the issues must have justest rooted at its foundation. you know this and have worked for this. we are together in this fight. thank you all. keep up the great work. [applause] >> thank you everyone.
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[applause] >> thanks. hello everybody. i'm the associate vice president for public affairs. i can't be more excited to be here, learning from everyone who has spoken today. i couldn't be more excited to hear this next conversation. i couldn't be more proud that you continue to -- research like the two reports we are going to learn about today. we thank you for the opportunity to sponsor. our mission is to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy. the key word here is inclusive. in the vein of what we are about to discussion and what has already been discussed, the industry has to do better. i mean a whole lot better.
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this is a policy summit and anybody who has worked in public policy circles in d.c., you always hear this and picked out -- anecdote. to be a part of this industry every day, this event and events like it. it's really on inspiring and energizing. no one should stand idly by while this industry -- entire communities continue to be marginalized by a war on drugs. no one should stand by why these communities represent a tiny sliver of the ownership opportunities that come with these opportunities. i don't stand idly by. as i attend industry meeting events and sit around tables,
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i'm usually the only person who looks like me or one of a couple of people who looks like me. it's disappointing. the question posed to me in this moment is, why does weedmaps support organizations? the answer is that these leaders and organizations have values and efforts that align with our express commitment to strive for equitable marketplaces and restore communities. this event and these organizations we are about to hear from and these reports that are quantifying what's happening and what could be in these marketplaces are sparing change. you could say it's our responsibility but if this industry is going to look like it -- what it should look like
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and what it's capable of looking like, every single one of us has a part to play. no one is exempt, especially corporations and corporate interests. we use these materials that are created by these advocates to inform our policy positions. the hope is that we go beyond supporting. to actually become corporate social advocates. using what we learn from these efforts and these reports to align with the incredible work that has been undertaking by these incredible individuals and organizations. by lending our platform, time, resources, and brainpower, we accomplished it. we continue to do better. when these two talk, they lit -- i listen.
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i make sure to tune in and i feel like every time i finished, you can't walk away and not become a better person and consider yourselves more informed than you were before you watch. this next talk will be an excellent one. i will step aside. thank you. [applause] >> hi everyone. so great to see people. i'm really excited to be here today and to be moderating this really awesome panel. the two ambers. put out great reports from their organizations on the need for social equity and how we can improve upon social equity programs that are already in place. with that, i will give you both
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an opportunity to briefly introduce yourself or the audience. i'm the director of the office of national affairs policy alliance. you heard my colleague earlier. i'm in the federal office so i have the fun job of lobbying congress on all things drugs. it can be fun sometimes but most of the time, it's not. i will toss it over to amber. >> i'm amber littlejohn. the executive director of the minority cannabis business association. former president. we are the largest national trade association serving minority cannabis entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs through both policy advocacy and programming and education. >> my name is amber center. i'm the cofounder and executive director of supernova women. supernova women is a nonprofit,
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working to create opportunities for black and brown people in cannabis. we were founded in 2015 by a group of black and found -- brown women. we are breaking barriers of entry for black and brown people in underserved communities. i'm also an operator, ceo of maker house, located and headquartered in oakland. >> great. if you could speak about the impetus behind the national cannabis a quality report. you publish that. >> yeah. we put out model ordinances, model state policies. we needed to truly understand the land to land. i was frequent getting asked, how many social equity programs are there? what did they do?
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it originally started with the mast person of the process. if you haven't taken a look, please do. there's a map that you can use to click on and do the research. we wanted to have a tool that would empower advocates around the country to not have to do a level of research that we have to do and to have access to citations in law. as the project grew and we started to understand how the tool could be utilized, we needed to go beyond the program and actually look at all of the potential provisions of law that were impacting equity. licensing calves to what's happening when medical operators: ok. it grew. one of our member partners saw the report as well. thank you.
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more like, wow. this is incredible information and we want to put it into a report. that's how we ended up with both the map in the report. they are both living documents. the map will be updated regularly. >> i will ask you a similar question. where did you come up with the idea for your report. by the way, i think it's brilliant. it's a brilliant idea to show that. it does pay dividends. >> yeah. thank you. so, we get asked pretty often, why should equity programs exist? what is the benefit of a social equity program? we understand that we have to offer opportunities to people that have been previously incarcerated or affected by the war on drugs. but, what is the benefit of doing that? we thought about that.
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we really wanted to quantify what the return of investment is on a social equity program. we wanted to not just tell municipalities and legislators and lawmakers that these programs are necessary and needed. we also wanted to back that up with real data and hard numbers. so that was the reason why we decided to put out our report. >> i would love to hear from each of you. whoever would like to go first. what were the top-level things that the audience should now? >> basically, every dollar that is invested into a social equity program, there's a 20% return on the investment. this makes a few assumptions. that 100% of the tax revenue is going back into the social equity program.
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the tax revenue or the tax rate is at 5%. in the program consists of four basic kinds of parts to it. real estate assistance, technical assistance, for the equity operators business. a grant program as well as waivers and fees like that. we did also notice one of the things that we notice from the report as well, one of the key factors from the report is that if you create a much more robust program by including things like early education, investing in early education, investing in job training, investing in expungement assistance -- that
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return on investment goes from $1.20 to $4.56. it increases exponentially when you really invest back into the community in meaningful ways. so i thought that was a really fascinating thing that came back from the report. >> thank you. same question. want to hear more about the barriers that you found that were consistently a problem. >> yeah. you are looking at equity and for buckets. as a trade association, we focus on the industry access. some of the fine things -- there are struggles, especially it's hard to figure out what they are. some of the findings were expected and others were more
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surprising. there were only 15 social equity programs in the country and that's taking into account that they exist in both medical frameworks. that's disappointing that there are so few. they don't do what we think they do. the programs, only six of the 16 provide funding directly to licensees or applicants. none of them provide them on day one when the market opens. we are expected to participate in the market without the direct financial assistance. another concern is we have this idea that social equity is about race. we need to talk about a race-based war on people, should have race-based solution. but we aren't seeing that. of the 15, only three are
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actually constitutionally prohibitive at the state level from using race. only three states even mention race. those don't really directly and stringently use race as a criteria. the other finding that is really important because it is in talked about enough is the impact of the medical market in the transition of medical operators. the inequities that exist in the medical market and how that carries over. there are a few ways that that happens. one, almost universally there are five programs that don't expressly preclude people with felony convictions from participating as employees or owners in the medical market. you have pretty broad, almost comprehensive prohibitions there. that means when they coat locate and go adult use, they still
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can't hire those people. you have early access to markets being given to medical operators. they are getting first mover advantage. we are seeing one year statutory advantages turn into two, going into three. so they have a natural monopoly on the market while everybody else struggles due to lawsuits or funding issues. and then another way that this medical operator is in exemptions. when you have this municipal control, if they are already an existing medical operator in the county or municipality doesn't keep the medical operator from transitioning to adult use. that creates the monopoly that they have. lastly, when states are banning that -- vertical integration, those medical operators have an exemption to that. nobody else but them can
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vertically integrate and benefit from scale. the medical issues where the most surprising but not surprising. >> can you speak to the product requirements that you printed out in the report? i think that's a big one. >> the premises requirement -- for those of you in states that have them, it can be devastating -- i think this is going to be a good place to join in with my colleagues especially in california. they are going to be devastating. i'm going to stop talking. >> yeah. i partnered with an equity operator in san francisco. this was back in 2018. we applied for two dispensary licenses. it took us three years to get
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through the licensing process. we had to secure our location prior to submitting an application. we been paying rent to locations for three years which cost us roughly over $400,000. now you know, she's a black woman, i'm a black woman. we have to raise capital. obviously, we had a pandemic that we had to deal with the -- throughout this entire process. that was difficult. we were able to get it done. >> one of the upsetting pieces is that we see them disproportionately applied to social equity programs and applicants. they scarcely exist in the medical market. so we are actually working to remove our premises requirement
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that one of the committees had stuck in. it was lovely to see that change happen and solidify the idea that we aren't going to carry that over to the federal level. >> building off of that. you talked about the oakland social equity program and how you would think you would be someone who would qualify and yet you didn't. can you talk a little bit about that? >> absolutely. so i'm a black woman, i'm queer, i'm a veteran of the united states coast guard. i don't qualify for social. i think that that is ok. however, i obviously fall into a number of different groups that are underrepresented. whereas -- where is representation for small business? as it stands, the kanas --
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cannabis industry wasn't billed for small business at all. it is increasingly really excluding small businesses and operators. how can we really make sure that small business is included? small business is black business, women-owned business, queer, veteran. it's all of these -- if all of these businesses don't so but -- survive, social equity businesses won't survive. really, all these small businesses end up working together. because the structure of bigger mso's can't properly support small business. they are too high. their terms are too big, too burdensome for a business to be able to effectively operate.
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in creating policy, we also have to make sure that we are creating policy for small business. really, 90% of the cannabis businesses are small business. only 10% are huge guerrillas. if we continue down this path that we are on, it consistently is creating policy for big business. we just won't have equity businesses or small businesses. >> such a good point, especially if we think about bringing wealth back into communities of color who have been most impacted by prohibition. we are talking small businesses, not big corporations. what do you think as far as what this report means? as someone who is on the hill quite often, how do you think this report could help moving things forward in congress? >> so, i really like ncba's
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report and using it in tandem with supernovas report. you can say, these are the places that have social equity programs. it's obviously not a not -- enough. these are some of the issues we are facing. some of the barriers that currently exist. ncba's program offers a number of different solutions and supernovas report backs it up with the data. another really effective way to use supernovas report is, a lot of the more conservative folks would say, well, this is a
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burden. this program costs money. we don't want to spend more of our money on building these programs that don't work. really what we can do is show how the program actually creates taxpaying businesses and businesses that contribute back into the community. so it's a great way to show that you get a return on the investment. >> i wholeheartedly agree with amber. one of the challenges is when you are raising issues with policy, you don't want people -- we've seen it happen. it happened in ohio where they ran into legal hurdles with their bad policy around social equity and they got shut down. what was their response? we just won't do it. we don't want to raise problems and have people identify the areas that need work without making it abundantly clear that
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it's absolutely foundational he necessary to have social equity, not just in a moral imperative level but also on an economic and restorative level. being able to point out some of the challenges in the need for improvement with, you need to do this. framing it in a way that also brings an economic has been an incredibly valuable tool. i feel like i'm the unofficial spokesman of the supernova impact report. i talk about it all the time. >> i think this needs to be the last question from me. i think we have some time from the audience. i wanted to leave on a positive note. i think the audience should hear where they can find that report. also speak about where we go from here now that we've identified the problem. what's next? >> yeah.
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again, one of the reasons that we did this report was to update our model state policy. shout out to my president there. we needed to have really well-informed policy. we have addressed what is going to start circulating shortly. we will create model policy that we can empower members and people in the community with to be able to go into lawmakers and say, you don't know what to do? great, i have something for you. we are turning this into an important policy developing tool. when we released the report, we gather names of people who committed to the seven principles behind it and so we are building a beautiful coalition of really diverse voices around some of these pressing issues that are truly about the survival of our community within this industry. >> can people find the report online? >> yes.
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go to our website. it's in our policy section. you can find that. >> so, you can find our report by going to our website. just scroll down and it should be on that. you have to put in your email address but it's very easy to access and download. >> where do we go from here? >> thank you. supernovas report was largely based on a lot of data that we got from a couple of different municipalities that have operating and active social equity programs. but we would really like to drill down and go state-by-state. a lot of the data ended up coming from oakland. oakland is the first
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municipality that established a equity program back in 2016. so they had the most information. we would really like to now go back and say, ok california, assess all the data there. go to massachusetts, take of all -- all of the info. really start to get more state specific just so that we can help the states create more effective policy. hopefully even allocate more dollars to these programs and add more components to each of the programs. >> great. i think that's time. i feel like we need an audience question. i see a hand up so we are going to go with it. >> [inaudible]
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>> can you use the microphone please? >> sorry about that. we are based in humboldt, california. i've been in the game for quite some time. thank you for your work. even now with my investment dollars not coming from wall street, i find myself being pushed out by retailers due to slotting fees. i felt that i was pushed out of the denver market as it started to get more mature. we have to a value eight people like we evaluate walmart. i think this had to start at the consumer level. the consumer needs to know to support brands and make sure the dispensaries are also being equitable. even if i have a business and i struggle to do the right thing, i still can end up failing because retailers won't carry my
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product because the larger companies are essentially gaming the system through taking up all the shelf space and putting me out. i found myself seven years into this, i consider myself a consort -- cornerstone. now i'm struggling because they are literally clogging the shelves with crab products. i come from a wellness world where high for just 10 been colored stuff should not be in our dispensaries and yet that's the majority of the stuff. we see a race to the bottom and distal lit instead of whole plant medicine. how can we start to show consumers that they need their voice? >> yes. that's a great point. it's nice to see somebody from california in the building. good to see you. that's one of my favorite brands. i think here is where we have to start to create the conversation
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and culminate the conversation around craft cannabis. that has been missing. that's the cornerstone of cannabis. that's the cornerstone of small business. really, that's what the consumers are looking for. i look at beer and the beer industry. they've done it. they figured out how to really carve out a space for their craft, manufacturers, and producers. we have to do the same thing here in cannabis. it's missing. the only way that they are going to hear it as if we start that conversation. we really have got to educate our lawmakers, cut out space for us as craft producers. and then also educate the dispensaries and retailers on why it's important. they already know why it's important. they know because we were there before. back in 2017, 2016, prior to that. we were there. it's been lost because of the
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capital starting to flood in. the people with the money, the slotting fees, they've been able to capture that shelf space. i think that when we bring that conversation back and show transparency around the products, i think it will happen. it starts with us amplifying that conversation. we need to reduce excise taxes. those set-asides in comparison to the craft beer industry that they have. we should be entitled to those very same things. >> those in emerging states, my company helped the concept become the cornerstone dispensary and easy for new
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consumers to come in. now $23,000 fee. how can i do that? we helped build this industry. never mind the notion of marginalized communities. as a business person, we are helping build this industry. it started in craft. yet now, we are being pushed out. thank you for those words. i appreciate it. >> this is something that some states tried to address on a policy level. having a requirement that the certain amount of shelf space the net -- designated to social equity operators. i think we need to be attacking the idea of slotting fees being applied. there are organizations that are working to bring visibility to equity operators and certifications. we highlight and support minority grants. i think fundamentally changing this is going to require us
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attacking what's happening on a policy level. creating space and protecting us in the market where the retailers so competitive like california. >> unfortunately, that's time. we have more big panels coming our way. thank you for attending and thank you both for this really great conversation. >> thank you. [applause] >> hello. how's everyone doing? we are almost at the end of our policy summit. i'd like to thank you all for staying around and thank you to the national cannabis festival for having me. my name is courtney davis.
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i serve as the executive director director for marijuana manners. it's a social enterprise organization that's based in washington, d.c.. we are a new organization so you may not have heard of us. we are working to ensure that there's a social equity framework at the center of the legalize cannabis conversation. we do this work through retailers, education, under from our ship, and advocacy. and we are here to make sure that the conversation of social equity has had in all conversations about legalizing cannabis. our vision is to repair what has been dismantled, restore what has been destroyed, and reclaim what has been displaced. our organization also believes that there is a shared responsibility between private businesses, public institutions, and communities to create an industry that does no more harm.
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this setting is the perfect opportunity for these three stakeholder groups to learn from each other and to collaborate on cannabis reforms. our next guest speaker is a large part of this conversation. as a person who spent the past decade working on capitol hill, i understand the important role that elected officials and their staff play in the policymaking process. if we walk away with one message today, it's utter cannabis laws are in desperate need of state and federal reforms. as a former colorado resident, it brings me pleasure to introduce the video message from ed perlmutter. he represents the seventh district in colorado. since colorado legalize cannabis, he's been one of the leading voices in congress on cannabis reform. he's also been on a crusade to legalize cannabis banking in the
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u.s.. he's been introduced six times. maybe the six time is the charm. the value of the current u.s. cannabis industry is $17.7 billion and yet has less than a percent of banks and credit unions providing limited cannabis banking services. there is no speak -- it's a huge challenge for entrepreneurs of color. our organization has worked alongside other advocacy groups and members like congressman perlmutter to create banking opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs. the congressman has recently announced that he is retiring after this congress and regardless of how you feel about the bills that have been introduced in congress, the one thing that we can agree on is that we need more members of congress that are willing to make this industry a priority so that we can continue to have these conversations that have taken place today. without further ado, please turn your attention to remarks from
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the congressman. >> hi. i'm the congressman for the western and northern suburbs of denver, colorado. i want to thank you for inviting me to participate in your summit. let me talk first about the state baking act. that's one that i've been working on for years, since colorado legalized adult use of marijuana back in 2012 by citizens initiative and by amending our constitution. barney frank who is chairing the financial services committee could see a collision between state laws and the federal law, particularly the controlled substance act. that would prevent or limit banks and credit unions financial services from providing any kind of financial
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assistance to the cannabis industry or anything that had thc. he was right. what we've seen is now 47 states , all the tora terry's in the district of columbia have some level of cannabis use. as a result, we've seen lots of cash being generated from this business and that cash has attracted some violent crimes. colorado has had murders recently. washington, we had a robber killed, a police officer killed, and the owner of a dispensary killed. the other thing that we've seen is that small businesses and minority owned businesses have a really hard time getting access to capital. it's not equitable and how the businesses are developing. banking would provide more opportunities for small
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businesses, minority owned businesses, women-owned businesses to get capital and be able to provide resources to grow their particular businesses. the safe banking act is part of a much bigger bill called the american peace act. it was passed as an amendment onto america competes. america competes his appeal -- build their link with research and development and manufacturing here in america. its purpose is to make sure the united states remains competitive with the rest of the world, particularly china. hopefully we will be able to keep safe banking and maybe at a research component to assist veterans and keep it moving forward and get it to the white house to get signed. that will be the first big step towards reforming cannabis
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legislation. if a comprehensive piece by senator schumer or booker could pass, that's great. but something needs to get moving in the senate. i hope your summit goes well. i wish i was there. there's a lot to talk about. i think you've heard from you long enough. i wish you all well. take it easy. goodbye. [applause] >> hi everyone. i'm the deputy director of relations for the national bull -- cannabis industry association. i'm happy to be here today to open our last panel of the summit. banking on incrementalism, how interest congress passed the safe banking act. the national cannabis industry association is the oldest and largest trade association
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representing the legal cannabis industry. our 1000 members are spread nationwide and are comprised of cultivators, manufacturers, retail operators, service provider, you name it. all that to say that an cia advocates for all businesses small and large involved in cannabis and has a proven track record of doing so. since i started working and lobbying eight years ago, a lot has changed. a lot has stayed the same. millions of voters have gone to the ballot box in favor of legalizing cannabis in some form , legislatures all over the country have implemented regulatory regimes. companies have merged and flourished. all the while, federal prohibition has continued, millions urbane incarcerated, and businesses struggle.
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while many of these issues could be solved through federal legislation, there's been a lot of disagreement over where to put resources, time, and energy and over what order these bills should be considered in. the next panel is going to tell you all about the safe banking act, how it is passed out of the house six times now. you'll hear about how the bill enjoys more than 40 bipartisan cosponsors in the senate in both broad coalition support ranging from financial institutions to labor unions. you might be getting -- beginning to wonder what the holdup is. the disagreement over incremental reform doesn't have as much to do with substance as it does inside the beltway strategy. some are of the opinion that passing a bill will hurt the chances of passing comprehensive reform or that it doesn't go far enough for the individuals and communities most harmed by the war on drugs. others believe that it will
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increase political and public support for these, make communities safer, and provide opportunities for small minority businesses. congressional offices, lobbyists, advocates, businesses, and other stakeholders are still divided on whether passing reform helps or hurts legalization efforts. time is of the essence. history and electoral patterns tell us that republicans are likely to regain control of one chamber of congress this november. it doesn't bode well for cannabis reform, incremental or otherwise. real communities, real businesses, real people are bearing the brunt. this is all a mass oversimplification of the topic that you are about to hear about. so soon you will know all the details about banking on incrementalism and whether we should or shouldn't.
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i will turn it over to our panel. thank you. [applause] >> hi everyone. thank you guys so much for joining us today on this beautiful friday afternoon to listen to this topic. we have a very ideologically diverse panel with us today so i'm really excited to get into it. i would love to start off by having each of the panelists introduce themselves, their organization. tell us a little bit about your stance on safe banking and how it will impact the organization and the members that you guys serve. would you like to start us off? >> thank you. good afternoon. we are the last panel keeping you guys from going home so we will try to keep this lively and fun.
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my name is tanner daniel. we represent the entirety of the banking industry, whether it's the largest financial institutions on wall street all the way down to the community banks in rural parts of america. it's been a recent journey. only the past couple congresses came out in full sorted support of this incremental approach. we believe that the narrow focus of the state banking act will immediately help communities address safety issues. immediately address the tax collection problem that is being faced in communities that have legalized marijuana.
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so on and so forth. it's not a perfect solution. if you talk, he just mentioned that this has been a tenure fight that he's been having. from the jump, it had always been a conversation about addressing the problem on the ground today. excited to be on this panel and talking more about banking on a friday afternoon. [laughter] >> yeah. i'm a federal legislative representative. most of you know me through the grocery and food processing industry. we represent 1.3 million essential food workers throughout north america. we also represent over 10,000 cannabis workers and that number is growing every day. the reason why we are so engaged
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is because of safety for the workers for one. we've all heard stories about incidence of crime and break-ins. unfortunately, murders. they have become very dangerous job sites for our members. the other issue, members don't have access to traditional banking services like home loans . they can't prove their him -- their income when they are applying for these types of banking services because of federal prohibition. we want to make sure that the apparel passes are being taken care of. are they paying the right income tax? are the deductions right? will social security kit -- he could he be there when they retire? will unemployment benefits be there? disability, although sorts of things.
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that's why we are so engaged in this. >> we try to keep taxes down which requires the government to do fewer stupid things. stupid things cost money. 30 years ago, got involved with two ade as well as the idea of safe banking, allowing banks to deal with products that aren't federally legal but in the state are. one says, in this industry if you are selling schedule one drugs, you will get arrested. then they say, you've made a million dollars and you say, yes but i had to hire my henchmen and stuff like that. these are my but duction's. that was the law up until the early 80's. my parents taught me if you want to become a bank robber, keep the records of the gasoline for the car and all that and take that as a deduction.
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21% tax on profits in colorado because you can't take deductions and credit. that makes experimentation at the state level very difficult. all good ideas come from one state doing it, three states doing it, 10 states doing it and then it goes to washington. constructive ideas come from washington because nobody has tried this before, let's enforce it on the whole country. takes a great deal of time to ever undo. for federalism to move an idea forward, the two big problems in cannabis are two ade you can't take normal business deductions
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and you pay taxes on total sales, not on your profits. and the lack of safe banking. those two reforms would allow more extreme in at the state level and better inform washington and speed up the process. >> i'm the chair of the cannabis regulators of color coalition, relatively new organization of government officials selected to oversee regulatory markets. for a long time, we didn't have enough people of color to actually have a coalition. in 2020, that started to shift. my job as a regulator is in the city of portland. a mature market where i oversee over 400 licenses. most of the businesses that we license have banking. they pay a lot of fees for it.
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the story around not having banking is on the ground across all of our different markets. not exactly true. i came into the industry as a patient. i'm a patient first. for me, the safe banking bill has been really about telling the real story behind the market plan of the bill. what it actually does, there's a lot of inflation on a bill that's for banking which is why we have so many people here that represent banking and tax. that and telling a story about what it will do for people. i think we know that we have a hope that it will make some improvements. one we fundamentally have a banking system that is inequitable as it stands in 2020 one, having federal reports released were black and latinx business owners are half as likely to get a commercial loan, we have a systemic problem. the real issue -- i will talk
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more about this in my closing remarks, historically coming -- excluded communities are dying on the hill of political incrementalism. [applause] we have to talk about it. [applause] i'm here to share what's going on on the ground and dispel the myths and talk about what we are working on as a coalition. a number of other organizations have come to the table to start to figure out the amendments. >> thank you. [applause] i want to get into your takes on how much of an impact this legislation would have if it actually passed. as a reporter who covers the cannabis industry, you hear a lot about safe banking. at the same time, i do a lot of hemp and cbd coverage.
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there are a lot of hemp businesses out there. they still have trouble accessing banks and payment processing. in your view, what kind of impact with this bill have on your licensee's? >> right now, they are hoping that the impact would make their fees go down. to be perfectly honest, whether or not there is cash on hand in stores, that's not what is primarily being stolen. our robberies are up quite significantly. i don't take that lightly at all. we are working on a lot of solutions including a cannabis emergency relief fund specifically for the industry. the merchandise is the thing of value. whether we have an ability to swipe a card as licensees doesn't seem to change things. they do want to have a perceived theory of safety. and of lower cost and opportunity. when we dig into the bill, there
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are things that are going to give options to banking institutions and make it safe for them to decide how they are going to move. given the fact that there are banks like chase that still won't bank poured because of the risk and liability of all -- their reputation, we don't for see that being a watershed moment for small licensed businesses, let alone black and brown owned small licensed businesses. if they had a regular business, they would still suffer to try to get resources. i will add that right now, post-covid, we are having a banking issue across all of the black and brown communities at this point. most of those branches closed down. in reality, i don't see how that bill will translate to the direct impact on the ground. what will happen
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you're talking junk about states doing this and state doing that and won't let them do that so that's what we're trying to figure out, how we get better language does move the needle towards real impact on the ground >> i don't know if you mind if irespond . i can't emphasize enough as a former. or 10 years ago, we would get oulaughed out of the room. the industry has evolved. this is a serious rconversation thanks to the work of folks like the people here, yourself included . i think back to your comment about to your question about what would happen, fen/phen came out with a report on how many institutions are banking based off of what we call suspicious activity reports
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and they came out saying it's now 755 institutions, banks and credit unions. that number i believe this triple over the past couple of months but having talked to the folks on the ground or in states doing this, they classified those 755 are people who are actively in the space. how many of those 755 are looking to do loans to provide services outside of just what your folks in portland are doing is taking in their money they don't have money in their funds is much smaller. one estimate i was reading said it was about 200 institutions, banks and credit unions. so the question is what will save do. america has the most competitive banking system in the world. there are 4000, dba we have 3500 members. the bulk of which are
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community banks. who want to support and help their communities. bankers, their reputational risk associated with getting an examination from their regulator for helping the trafficking, right now they're in violation of trafficking, walgreens. the steps that pearl mutter, we saw this with governor inslee making the announcement along with patty murray, these are the people who have full throated, out in support to address the safety risk that's on the ground but also to make it an ecosystem where more folks can come out to provide capital to these communities that desperately need these services .
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this is such a unique, me as someone who recently has become cannabis lobbyists, my background is in banking. it's just such an interesting unique case study as to what happens to a segment of our economy when a robust safe consumer protected, you talked about addressing lending needs to minorities and small business owners. we've had a conversation about the bank owned initiative that aba has endorsed to get more people into the banking system so that they have a relationship with a banker that they otherwise wouldn't. that's a lot of the narrative happening in dc'ssurrounding that so again , i totally respect and appreciate that but to your question laura, there will be a dramatic shift in the level of participation and even again with that number is inflated.
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>> just to clarify participation of banks and institutions. >> and credit unions. >> i'm curious how have you guys seen this, the issue of cannabis more generally involved if all then progress over the years and how does this sort of bipartisan support help and hurt efforts to move the ballforward ? >> yes. generally speaking i think people are coming around to not just say cannabis laws in particular started as a fringe issue that is moving more and more mainstream every session. i also get the sense and i'm not saying i support, endorse or don't this notion but people are looking at this in
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three different pieces. one is the safe banking piece and i hope we can get some equity provisions attached with that and maybe even expungement. state-level record expungement associated with that and then there's your federal d scheduling and national expungement piece of it and then finally the regulatory and tax structure. i feel as though as we get more serious about what a post d scheduling world looks like we're starting to realize how complex of an issue this is and that's why we saw koa get postponed. and i honestly think that's a good thing.he that means people are taking the issue more seriously and y, they see this as an inevitability that we need to prepare ourselves for. >> i just add the more i did pass again the work that us we're doing but we did already passive and the fact is there wasmore opposition on the floor this time .
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more votes against it and it seems the opposition was reversing back to what i've been calling a war on drugs 2.0. even the way he described the businesses as we're talking about here tand that needs to change and shift mainly because cannabis is medicine first and always rsand we have to start talking about people as patients first. there were people even from the state that i have in common jurisdiction that i oversee calling about the industry, the things happening with the robberies which of course are very devastating. they don't even compare to what's happening in philadelphia on the weekend but they are devastating so i've got to keep it real. we are blowing it out of proportion and telling a story like these things are so on faith and the industry needs more enforcement. the majority of the conversation and debate on the floor was around very remedial in my feeling like
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1990 new jack city type of discussion around cannabis. that is going backwards. as much as it's becoming mainstream we have to recognize the signals. every time we talk about faith-based we recognize there is some problem around enforcement at the end of the day which at the end of the day impacts communities the most, minority communities the most. that's not what's happening in my market. i can talk about the numbers. we're not going to conflate it to a story so t that we can revert back justbecause something is bipartisan doesn't mean it's good for the people . everything that was said here is talking about institutions and things but at the end of the day it's the people that we need to free first before we start talking about fringe money. [applause] >> do you have anything to add about the evolution of
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this issue in congress? >> what politicians want to know is when is it a good idea which is important but they also want to know is chit safe. and i vote for this and get reelected? >> if you want an elected official to vote with you on it and out on an issue we need to convince them it's a good idea and it won't cost you your job . i was testifying on criminal justice reform in florida. and when i said they cast this vote four years ago in texas people looked up from their iphones because you just told them to election cycles you will lost their job in texas, all of a sudden they take notes and you've got it through so i think most elected officials recognize it's safe because they've seen not losing elections as a state number which is why i look at the
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federalist issue. one is politicians in washington think it's safe 'to do marijuana and the polling data is up some butthat doesn't matter measure intensity . that tells you whether they can vote on it.e people are losing their jobs in colorado state legislature because of this and if not then it's much easier.to now we handle the important question. i think we've gone past the first one. it's safe and i think the argument, is a good idea it's easier to make. and also was made by the 37 states that want to legalize it as medicine. that made people feel more comfortable. taking some of these steps knocks down the argument that the opponents use and it's a collection ofarguments .
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if one doesn't work don't bring up another one o. so assuring people it's safe and it's a good idea. i think we're getting there with more of these projects. why then don't we pass a bill like the safe act that has popular support. i was told two years ago that mitch mcconnell and the republicans are ready to go and pass it to the senate and then something happens but they were ready, members were there to do it. >> and having been sensation of being inside. legislation moved on a similar path. that went all the way to the federal level but we put together a weekly meeting of people went like the guy from heaven would come in every month and you see this and eventually it would it completely pass and did quite well. but the challenge their is that bills that everybody likes are often not call laws
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because they become constitutions and so the bill that's going to pass all that's great. can i put my stupid idea. it's a goodidea but i idea that has fewer friends than the original bill. and everybodyputs 25 things on it . so they take hostage good ideas . you see this not just on cannabis but a whole host of issues. you have this little bill and everybody agrees it's a good idea and by the time it's in congress it's got things attached to it that make it law. some of them would even be good ideas. but people it's a new idea. as opposed to the old idea you are comfortable with. it slows everything down. so that'sthe challenge. >> let's talk about withholding . i mean it's past it's time on ssthe house already.
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four times to bigger packages. but there's, you have schumer, booker and wyden in the senate who don't want to pass writing legislation without congress marijuana reform. so i guess my question to you is is there anything that you would like to see changed to states that would make it more appealing to you? or are you also in that same camp of you do want to see federal decriminalization. >> i think states have passed six times with carveouts. but the reality is that we are literally trying to make access to money available for industry that is still predominantly white and male and run while there are la lot of black and brown people still in jail. so number one we need to
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decriminalize and we don't need that to be wrappedaround in oak hill , like a pill in something like the regulatory structure. that's it. and it would save money and keep your job at the same time. i struggle with some of the challenge and we've got to figure out. i get the political game which is what we just talked about. all the strategy happening, we've got to know it and i talk about it a lot and we are in the middle of it. we're not going to pretend we can come out with a comprehensive bill but i do want people to understand what's happening . we have an issue, a bipartisan issue around social justice components of the more act and meanwhile within weeks a senate bill is going to pass for expansion of cannabis resource pharmaceutical if you will or the large pharmaceutical companies andthere was no discussion at all. it passed unanimously .out
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of that happen? what it tells me is we are struggling with a fundamental w difference on how to approach legalization with the social isjustice component and if that is the issue then you and i will probably never see i die but in the meantime i think while we work on that we ought to understand the long-term play. we work at the state and local level and to your point the federal government, we're also and this tells you how many jobs we have. some of us not paid but we're also working on the potential amendment, a coalition of us have worked together for the better part of a year now at this point talking through how can we add some equitable provisions from things as some people would say far out there as taking to ade money that's been collected as a legitimate business and making that into some sort of fund that is a cannabis justice fund or recovery fund
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of some sort. we've also talked about how do we support the minority institutions. like we at this point have seen a decline and there's more i would say initiative but right now we don't explicitly call them out and we don't put in any provisions to ensure that s lending rates or anything are going to change from the disparate rates that they currently are so we're figuring out how do we get the right language to not sink the ship. i think we've got to ask for what we need and recognize what we play this game is to figure out what we can get but it's no longer about what we can get, it's about what we deserve andwhat we need and we need to start their . [applause] >> tanner, chris, are there amendments you think will move the bill forward in the senate and what bills arethey ?
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>> i agree with everything you said sister. iasupport social equity provisions. we endorse the more act. we work closely at the state and federal level. anything we can do, where fully supportive of. i just want to point out one thing and this disconnect that we have between what the people want and what politicians are willing to support and vote for and to your point grover, this driven by fear of not getting elected. there's this very strange political disconnect where the overall majority of the public wants one thing yet we have a political system that doesn't reflect t the overwhelming wishes of the public. so that ultimately, i don't mean to get into
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constitutional issues but it's a symptom of a bigger problem that we have politically. i'll stop there. >> we're not looking for amendments to save things, i'll be honest. but to an chris's point i think there is a need to have a discussion on expungement of records. decriminalization. the banking committee, that's the discussion for this one. i think and that's i think a point made earlier about what the public wants. i mentioned the name jordan brown. in the state of washington who was killed recently. i talk about this, the north
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of 60 robberies that have happened in the state of washington. that's more than the amount of robberies that have happened the previous two years and were enabled . so while i recognize there's a need to fight for those bigger issues and there should bethat fight but let's take it to the judiciary committee but let's have those discussions . the way the debate, we don't take a position one way or another on the more act but the way the debate has played out ebthere's work to be done there. but again, i would just that is the problem that's on the ground right now is people are losingtheir lives . and to get money out of these hfc s i recognize some of the burglaries, the bulk of it is
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there also getting into the product that's there but you make these institutions, these dispensaries that target when you don't have access to banking systems. back to the social addressing that getting capital to small business. there's a study sslanguage in the safe banking act have been added to require the regulators or financial institutions to report to the regulators onwhat sort of lending that they're doing to businesses , to minority businesses on the safe banking act. and there's again, a myriad oflaws that are already on the books that protect against discriminatory behavior in our industry . that will continue to be in place. >> but they don't work, that's the problem. i have to interrupt because i want to o acknowledge that you mentioned things that are in the justice committee. none of the amendments i suggested had anything to do with that. they were amendments related to the banking institutions
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and ways we can start to fix exactly what you said is in place. a lot of the work that we've done thanks to the fact that our group has such a diversity of experience. i'ma former fortune 500 senior executive . the banking and compliance world, we've been able to identify what we think are things that the banking institutions could do to make this a bit more equitable and it's something i think you should definitely start to look at and not assume the equity is around restitution. where expunging stuff now that you're making money on it so it's important for you to recognize that's a different element altogether and we are proceeding accordingly. that's why you didn't hear that in any of my amendments but where you call to the things that are already in place unfortunately there in place yet we haven't 2021 report that says the process is not working. it is not, there isn't enough incentive i guess or perhaps
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a slap on the wrist is only the case when you don't follow these sort of anti-discriminatory policies but it's happening. and the numbers show that. i think the real challenge i have is there so many reports whether it's americans for safe access, the aclu report. we had to really great social equity impact reports hain supernova, we have a lot of data and they use that data so i'm confused about why we haven't figured out how to stall for the gaps in the data in the report. that'swhat is the solution . saying will pass it and hope for it is a very different thing and i got to tell you growing up the way i did i would hope that what the plan was for getting canada's decriminalized to give us ke safe that will happen so we have stuff that we have to rectify and fix it. and stop telling the story about what we hope will happen and morethe plans of things that are real action .
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and i apologize, not really. i don't apologize, this is what it is. but i more so feel that this was already a bit of an imbalance and that you are coming from physicians where you feel that state by itself will do so much but what constituents are you thinking about? >> we've never said that it's an incremental to say that. we think it would do a tremendous, going to again 755 institutions right now in the entirety of doing this and of those, it's not a lot of them are that i recognize as important reand it might be a different story on the ground there but to deny an opportunity so that there can be this wave of competition that comes from the space at the moment when i guess people are dying from having
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these businesses. i think that that's something that we're generally listen, let's take the step now and continue to have a conversation i think the people are dying is a trigger . people are dying in the hood right now. and we're talking about numbers, you keep dropping your 60 and you spent the weekend in philly you're g going to get a whole different experience . i think we just right here, thank you. we appreciate you saying that. i want to makesure on again were not conflating . >> hopefully that didn't come off. >> that's how it comes off. not to again attack but more so to be aware that the way in which you been describing what you think you're fixing shows that you are completely unaware of big problem in front of you. >> i want to get into some of
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the capital access issues. as we all know there's a lot of struggles accessing capital in the industry. there's a lot of predatory lending, a lot of allegations and mso's getting into predatory relationships with equity applicants. and you know, mso's have like their own struggles and issues with all of that stuff. and i talked to some social equity advocates who say i don't have a choice. i can't go to the bank and get a loan. i have to negotiate with predatory lenders andthat's t the only way i can start my business . in your view, with this legislation help with that issue at all ?>> do you want to start? >> again, we firmly believe that this would get more folks involved in this space.
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i think but to rashida! i think there is a real question about what our systemic problems in the system that need to be discussed and again, where open and willing to have thoseconversations . again, the constructs of what is ed from over here, if other members of congress were here who have helped guide this along. brought the labor unions along to be insubordinate i think you would, the resounding answer would be yes. this is the problem on the ground. there's too much cash in these businesses. here's how we incrementally fix this one little problem in thisbanking universe . to help with the rest of that nextstep . >> i want to add something if you like. it's important to think about
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the mso's. but it's also important to remember about the workers. and you know, this will be a very important step to the access to traditional banking systemin ways that they currently are unable to . it isn't just the inability to get loans, personal loans, car loans and those sorts of things but payroll deductions , all those benefits that we take for granted everyday that are part of everyday employment . we are excluding all classic workers. and i just want to reiterate that that is a very important thing. we want to make sure this industry whether you're an mso or a mom-and-pop shop that you have good paying jobs you're providing good paying jobs. you contribute to your communities and that we're ultimately buholding the communities that have been the most part from the war on drugs. we talked around this a lot but this country spent a lot
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of money fighting a war that quite frankly we lost. and you know, the fact that there's so many people, folks mahere that want to put correcting those harms front and center i think is a good thing and i'm sorry. absolutely. >> it's something that we need to be conscious of and think about going forward. ensure that these businesses no matter owhat their structure is our providing good payingjobs . >> i'm completely with you. on the ground in my jurisdiction we have the cannabis workers coalition. there are a couple other ri jurisdictions starting to see unionization of workers. that's actually of the industry is probably the most diverse part of the industry. that's not something we take lightly but over 350,000
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people usually working in the cannabis space right now. 10,000 in your group and what i will say even my son having previously worked for mso's is that big companies can do payroll taxes without any issue o. the mso's are handling that without an issue. the people who work for them are able to prove their income without an issue. the struggle it's a struggle in small businesses i always go back to what's happening for the regular like non-cannabis part of the industry. small businesses in general don't do payroll taxes very well. they have to struggle with maintaining minimum wage requirements and often times will push against that because they're worried about maintaining their businesses. athese are not things that are a phenomenon for the cannabis space . this is how we protect and build and support small
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businesses to do that better in general so i don't want to conflate the story if you work in cannabis you will only get paid in cash right now. maybe in 2010 and 2015 but in 2022 you're getting a paystub and your company would be paid a lot of fees upwards $220,000 in a year but you're going to get sort of a standard experience. i think that again we're conflating old stories and old issues withsmall business as a segment across the board with the t challenges of the cannabis sector . >> it depends on the majority of the market and new and emerging markets in the cannabis space. they don't have the infrastructure and its coming and it will get to them but ultimately workers need access to the full spectrum of financial things that are available tothem .
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>> that is a big challenge that affects insurance. there are definitely still issues. some of the things i think we're seeing are things like it's still you might as well work with a thug if you're getting paid to not get approved, that's not what's happening. ho>> where just about out of time but i want to ask you one last question and that is how do you guys as advocates, as lobbyists balance what you want with pragmatism and like getting something done? >> justice isn't pragmatic. it just isn't. it's a history of injustice in this country that is so pervasive that it will never just be one thing. we literally need to lean in and lean down and lean hard altogether and that happens le
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with incrementalism. there are some of us for playing like we're on the wall that we're not on the wall. we need to hold the line and hold the wall. justice is not pragmatic and if we wanted there's got to be a bit of yes, that's thrown out the window to ask what you need but you have to stillbuild strategy . i've gotten a lot of things done at the state and local level. i'm a realist about it but i also call it out for what it is. we tend to decide we want to act in a bipartisan way but let people say things that are crazy about the industry. you can correct people and still collaborate with them and you can demand again and not be lpragmatic about where wereheaded and still collaborate with them on building access . >> i think something that's interesting about this effort is that the coalition building has occurred in this space has made it so that you know, we had a conversation about more earlier and it's just really butted heads on
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the hill on this and i think it will continue to be like that for some time but through the leadership of members like pearl mutter and the leadership of members like senator merkley, they found an issue that was on the ground in this narrow space and how can we build this out to have an adult conversation about this issue on the hill? because i think grover you talk about this. members are told 1 million different ways. it wasn't until leaders like ed started having this conversation that we are now, i opened with this in saying all the work that we all are doing is making this type of conversation in dc more normal. that is a huge step and again i know about incrementalism and fall on advocacy but to me, that little step is a huge deal in this space and
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it all started with that idea of how are we going to get members from various parts of the spectrum interested in this ? i think it's beengenerally successful . >> grover, chris, last thoughts, keep it brief. >> the difference between incrementalism and moving forward. can we do everything today? number how about we did something that would speed up going forward? we could have it all, we've decided not to. nobody's saying that and that's not the way the world works . if the votes were there you'd have it. the votes aren't there. the votes are there for 280 and the votes are there for the effort on banking. the votes are there state-by-state. so we're doing that as much asyou can state by state . andstate-by-state is a mess . the regulations on cannabis
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are stupider than the regulations on liquor. we have made incredible compromises that are disastrous and make alternative interesting people rich in order to just get true legalization and we have to come back and unpack the crap that went into the california bill and washington bill and nevada to buy off the votes of the people to get it through. you decide where you want to go and everything that gets you there faster is a good idea and it's not instead of the things you don't have the votes for. this happens all the time. when we did the first step act on criminal justice reform, every day we had to have everything . people lost interest. we could have done at all during the obama administration but we wanted everything instead of something and people spent
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years waiting for the other. there is a cost to slowing things down. nothing's going wrong, there's a war on drugs that's still going on and until we ended don't talk about we sold all the social justice problems. the social justice is illegal and people are going to jail for non-crimes. this government has no business telling people how to run their own lives and throw you in jail if they don't like the way you do it but stopped at. i want to do this other thing instead. then you're not counting the dead people and the ruins lives because you couldn't do things faster sooner and all those people who move in the state, that's not the federal government. that's not everything. no but it was progress so we're going to get the everythingbecause we took the safer steps . it's true on marijuana and it's true on every private sector. if you want to get things done take every step you can
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because it makes the nextstep easier and every time you say you're going to wait the problem you thought you were solving takes years longer to do and in this state case people die in prison . you wait forperfect, let's give them what they can take . >> i wanted to add one thing. that is this looks a lot like a negotiation. >> except it doesn't have to be a deal. >> this is so weird that we agree. >> i don't want to get in the way of that. >> it's all good. >> it's a good thing. that is that when you have a bunch of negotiations we have an alternative to a negotiated agreement and in this circumstance it's the status quo and who benefits from the status quo ? >> i think incrementalism is a struggle for the people who are historically excluded and oppressed it's easy to say
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this is how it's always been done. well, look at where we are at this point. we have realdisparities. we have to do better and we have to change . >> we are over our time. thank you so much for being here with us on afriday afternoon . thank you panelists. this is a really enlightening discussion. >> thank you so much to our panel. just one quick word before we all go to the reception where free food and free booze awaits. i'd like to thank you all so very much for attending today's cannabis policy summit. as you saw on this stage
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there was such a diversity of opinion and backgrounds and lived experiences and somehow, someway we're going to bring them all together to get 60 votes in the united states senate to finally end marijuana prohibition once and for all. on that note please take what you've learned here today. process it, make it your own. added to your power andmake it reverberate through this city and this countryuntil we win . thank you, i'll see you at the bar . >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government funded by these television companies and more including comcast . >> you think this is just a community center? it's way more than that.
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