Massachusetts Speaker: Suspend Pot Negotiations Until Budget Plan Approved
BOSTON (AP) – The state’s top Democratic lawmakers clashed Wednesday over who’s to blame for the failure to pass two key pieces of legislation: an overdue state budget and a highly-watched bill making changes to the state’s voter-approved recreational marijuana law.
Speaker Robert DeLeo late Wednesday issued a statement asking House negotiators working to hammer out a compromise marijuana bill to suspend their talks until a final state budget is approved and sent to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.
DeLeo said it’s important to get the budget bill wrapped up for the fiscal year that began July 1. He said he believes lawmakers can get a budget to Baker this week.
Washington, D.C. To Give Minorities Preference for Getting into MMJ Industry
Members of the Washington D.C. Council advanced legislation to give local minority-owned companies a preference when applying for licenses to operate medical marijuana businesses.
While states generally don’t track the race and ethnicity of weed license applicants, it’s obvious to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past decade that most dispensaries and the vast majority of growing operations around the country are overwhelmingly dominated by white men.
This lack of minority representation is especially problematic given that African Americans were—and still are—disproportionately arrested and incarcerated during the War on Drugs, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Marijuana use is roughly equal among blacks and whites, yet blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for possession, noteed the ACLU.
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