Former Citi executive and candidate for New York City mayor, Ray McGuire released a plan to ensure city residents that have been impacted by marijuana prohibition will not be excluded from the financial benefits of legalization.
The final details of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act are still being discussed by state lawmakers. McGuire however, has already begun to shape a framework for the planning of marijuana businesses as well as preventing underage use and substance abuse.
McGuire’s plan is to grow good, equitable cannabis jobs in th4e city will include:
- Creating a cannabis opportunity fund through his Comeback Bank
- Launching a citywide mentorship and workforce training program for cannabis
- Invest in incubators for cannabis startup companies
- Making affordable space available for cannabis businesses
- Secure passage of the SAFE Banking Act
“Communities of color, specifically Black and Latino communities, have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis for generations,” McGuire said in a statement. ‘It’s important that this landmark law is leveraged to make these communities whole, not only by expunging records for previous convictions, but also by investing substantially in the communities most impacted and ensuring equity in the legal cannabis industry.”
McGuire also wants to ensure local control over zoning and sitting decisions regarding cannabis businesses and ensure cannabis retail businesses are not opened in close proximity to schools, churches, and childcare centers.
The plan also includes working with health experts, educators, and parents to implement cannabis abuse prevention programs targeted at young children and teens and using cannabis tax revenue to invest in expanded treatment programs through the city’s health and hospital systems.
New York State is the closest it’s been in four attempts to pass a marijuana legalization bill. One of the biggest hurdles in passing the bill was where the tax revenue would go. Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially wanted the revenue to go toward MTA funding.
However, with Cuomo facing heat over claims of sexual harassment and nepotism related to COVID testing, it was evident he needed a win in passing the bill. That gave those drafting the bill the leverage to ensure the tax revenue goes to the communities that have been impacted the most.