The War on Drugs has disproportionately harmed communities of color.
People have lost jobs, education, housing, their liberty, their families, and their lives to this War.
Now they deserve equity, justice, and repair:
ownership of cannabis businesses, full and automatic expungement, and community reinvestment of tax revenue and corporate philanthropy.
We help cannabis companies, patients, and consumers engage with this work.
Cage-Free Cannabis is rooted in three kinds of justice:
Reparative - We coordinate expungement events and support both people and organizations from communities harmed by the War on Drugs.
Economic - We create jobs for communities of color and advocate for an equitable industry.
Environmental - We promote a sustainable cannabis industry.
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY
We help brands develop and execute social responsibility plans in order to become more sustainable, more diverse, and more engaged with their communities.
We can work with you to improve the diversity of your staff, the diversity of your clientele, the sustainability of your operations, and to coordinate events like expungement clinics, job fairs, and educational workshops that introduce your brand and your values to new audiences.
ABOUT CAGE-FREE REPAIR
Cage-Free Repair is the 501(c)(3) non-profit arm of our organization, responsible for our advocacy, event coordination, and the distribution of the net profits generated by Cage-Free Cannabis. Cage-Free Repair is a fiscally sponsored project of Social Good Fund.
Cage-Free Repair is a fiscally sponsored project of the Social Good Fund, a tax-exempt organization (EIN: 46-1323531). Purchases and contributions made to Cage-Free Cannabis are not tax deductible. Funding recipients focus on various aspects of repair, such as re-entry from incarceration, youth development, healing from trauma, and ensuring that people of color benefit from the above-ground marijuana industry.
Social Equity and Tax Revenue Allocation Recommendations
In collaboration with community members, Cage-Free Cannabis has created a set of recommendations for cities, counties, and states to adopt as they implement cannabis regulations. These include "social equity programs," such as the one pioneered by Oakland, CA, as well as tax revenue allocations.
All recommendations proceed from the assumption that the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis should be legal and regulated. Prior convictions for having participated in this industry should be immediately, and automatically, expunged and/or reclassified.
Cannabis Equity Oversight Committee
- Develop a permanent Cannabis Equity Oversight Committee to ensure and guide implementation of all the equity recommendations, monitor and track efforts, including tracking and analysis of enforcement (citations, arrests, business closures, etc.) and access to medicinal marijuana, to ensure that it is equitable. The Oversight Committee should report on findings no less than one time per calendar year.
Social Equity Licensing Program
- Institute a program akin to Oakland & Los Angeles' proposed program, which prioritize a one-for-one approach, in which applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by the Drug War receive licenses in a one-for-one ratio with all other applicants. (NOTE: Definition of what it means to be impacted needs to be easier to prove than it has been in Oakland.) An equity applicant would need to be defined by a combination of criteria, including geography, impacted person status, income level, and other factors, but not to be so stringent that hardly anyone qualifies.
- Provide technical, capacity building, and fiscal sustainability assistance for social equity applicants.
- Provide loan and banking assistance for social equity applicants.
- Open mentorship programs that can support the one-for-one approach for social equity applicants.
- Develop publicly-funded incubators and accelerators for cannabis entrepreneurs (this should include ancillary businesses as well as licensed businesses) from those communities.
- Prioritize licenses to cannabis businesses where at least 51% of their employees are formerly incarcerated or convicted.
Hiring, Job Training, & Community Outreach
- Open job training, workforce development programs, and workforce placement programs that prioritize those most impacted by the drug war (retail, manufacturing, ancillary, agricultural, administrative, etc.).
- Fund community outreach (performed by non-law enforcement agents) to existing, unlicensed operators in order to transition them into licensees.
- Fund community outreach to people impacted by prohibition, and host Reentry Fairs to educate them on the employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the cannabis industry.
- Prioritize the employment of formerly incarcerated people in all cannabis-related community outreach, tracking, and employment training programs. (We recommend a hiring target of 50% for workers who have been impacted by the War on Drugs and/or would qualify as Social Equity License Applicants).
- Fund youth centers and after-school programming by community-based organizations as the primary means of youth access prevention.
- Exclude ALL drug offenses from background offense restrictions. Further, background checks should only apply to cannabis business applicants as opposed to employees of cannabis operations. Business applicants with recent convictions should also be afforded the option to petition for reconsideration to present “evidence of rehabilitation”, which the Cannabis Equity Oversight Committee should specifically define. (Further Clarification: The background checks only apply to owners. If someone was recently convicted of fraud or a violent offense, they may be excluded from taking ownership positions, but have an opportunity to petition for reconsideration. If someone was convicted and served time for any kind of drug offense, allow them to take any kind of business ownership position. Owners may conduct background checks on potential employees, but they are not required to do so.)
Community Benefits Agreements
- Require all licenses cannabis businesses to develop and execute a community benefits agreement (CBA). The CBA can take make forms, which can be fleshed out by the Equity Oversight Committee, some of which may include % profit giveback to community organizations, serving as an incubator to an equity applicant, community clean-ups.
Tax Revenue Allocation
- Allocate funds needed for regulating the cannabis industry, including law enforcement, in an amount not to exceed 20% of annual revenue. The remaining 80% should be broken out in the following way:
- No less than 50% of the annual revenue should be directed to youth access prevention, including direct funding to youth centers and after-school programming, public health funding, research and reporting funding, with no less than 75% of this funding to go to community based organizations.
- No less than 20% of annual revenue should go to an “Equity Fund,” established to support equity applicants.
- No less than 10% of annual revenue will be directed to local community colleges for job training, workforce development and workforce programs (retail, manufacturing, ancillary, agricultural, administrative), prioritizing enrollment by those most impacted by the drug war.
MODEL LEGISLATION SUMMARY
The best model cannabis legislation that we've seen in the U.S. was developed as a collaborative project led by the Minority Cannabis Business Association in cooperation with participants from Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cannabis Cultural Association, Drug Policy Alliance, Greenlining Institute, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Cannabis Festival, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Families for Justice as Healing, Denver Relief Consulting, and THC Staffing Group. Legal support was provided by the Law Office of Richard M. Juang, Wyatt Legal Consulting, Rachelle Yeung, Esq., Shaleen Title, Esq., Shabnam Malek, Esq., Thomas Silverstein, Esq., and the law firm of Vicente Sederberg, LLC. The generous support of Kayvan Khalatbari made this project possible.