Pubdate: Thu, 13 Feb 2020
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Natalie Papillion


Using cannabis tax revenues to plug local budget holes has been an
effective talking point in advancing marijuana-legalization proposals
across the country ("Cities Look to Marijuana Taxes for Help," U.S.
News, Feb. 5). However, it is vital that lawmakers also use these
cannabis tax revenues to fund programs that serve the individuals
whose lives and communities have been destroyed by the misguided,
racially biased policies of America's war on drugs. Decriminalization
and expungement bills don't go far enough.

The legal marijuana sector has witnessed unprecedented levels of
growth, minting a new class of cannabis-industry millionaires.
Unfortunately, the spoils are flowing almost exclusively to a small
group of wealthy, well-connected and disproportionately white players.
This is unacceptable, especially considering the fact that the
devastating effects of cannabis criminalization affect almost
exclusively low-income or minority communities.

The opportunity to fund public programs continue to be an important
benefit of legalization. However, it can't be the only one. We have a
moral imperative to try to right the wrongs of the war on drugs. We
should start by investing in the very communities it harmed.

Natalie Papillion

Brooklyn, N.Y.
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