Mass cannabis advocates call out governor, lawmakers for targeting small biz opps
If you’re noticing that a number of cannabis crusaders in these parts are increasingly perturbed, it’s because Mass Governor Charlie Baker and others are suddenly attempting to impede potential opportunities for small businesses. As the AP reported last week, “District attorneys asked state marijuana regulators to hold off on licensing certain types of businesses, including so-called cannabis cafes and home delivery services, echoing a similar appeal by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.”
It’s absurd that journalists are covering this as if there are two legitimate sides to the story. All while ignoring the appalling hypocrisy on the part of politicians who opposed recreational cannabis but now seem to endorse the industry as long as moneyed interests are happy. In order to amplify those who deserve to be heard on this issue, following a press conference held by the Yes on 4 Coalition/Marijuana Policy Project on Beacon Hill yesterday, we decided that it’s best for readers to hear the words of Shanel Lindsay, a tireless advocate and member of the Mass Cannabis Advisory Board, in whole. -Dig Editors
I am a Massachusetts native, an attorney, a drafter of Question 4, and chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board’s Market Participation Subcommittee, which was mandated by law to ensure that businesses of all sizes, specifically small businesses (including those run by minorities, women, veterans and farmers) are not excluded from this industry.
So I have one question: Why are we here today? The people have spoken, the legislature has spoken, and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has spoken. Why are there still forces fighting against little guy and marginalized groups? And for whose benefit?
When the people voted, they voted for small business. When the legislature revised, they revised in favor of small business.
The Commission listened, deliberated, and voted, and they voted in favor of small business. So why are we gathered here now, fighting against this push to maintain a broken system that benefits only the well-connected and wealthy? It’s smacks of inside dealing at the expense of the average business owner, and that we will not accept.
From the moment this law was conceived, small business and opportunity for local small business owners has been a central focus.
But now in the 11th hour, we are facing off against this last ditch effort to scrap the only provisions that would offer ownership opportunity to our families and neighbors.
Do you remember our flight to legalize? I do. The biggest opposition from the people of this Commonwealth was the idea that “big marijuana” was coming to Massachusetts. So why is “big marijuana” the only one who has a voice here now?
I’m at a loss. I thought democracy worked a certain way. That people vote and the government respects and implements the people’s will. Why not this time? Too much money at stake? Why are we fighting for the independence of an independent commission? Why are we rehashing things that the people, legislators, and the Commission have confirmed? What does the average person have to do for their government to actually work for them?
My son is a junior in high school now, and he’s learning about the world and his place in it. I want to tell him that the system works and we can depend on our government to be truthful, fair, and honest. I want him to know that when people come together and demand change and win, change will actually happen, and the people we have elected won’t undermine us but instead will respect us and our will.
We are calling on Baker administration to stop throwing up roadblocks for small businesses, stop favoring large companies at the expense of small local owners. Let the Cannabis Control Commission do what it was appointed to do. We are also also calling on members of the legislature who are friends of small business and marginalized groups to denounce what is happening here.
Do not allow the money and influence of a select few to eliminate opportunity for everyone else.