Quick recap of the DC Board of Elections public hearing with regards to the Retail Cannabis Sales initiative today. This dude Assar Mustafa (probably spelled wrong, apologies) got an Initiative to the point of the BOE considering whether it could be on the ballot and from my understanding, it had a number of cool features to help minorities- specifically African Americans- find employment and ownership opportunities within the marijuana industry. The proposed initiative included a provision for 39.9% of the tax revenue generated to fund programs to help empower the minority communities that have suffered disproportionately in America’s War on Marijuana. I’ve never met Mr. Mustafa before but he makes quite an impression. The older black gentleman was a commanding presence in his suit, indoor gloves, and the silver-headed black cane by his side. He owned the room when he spoke in his county, Muriland drawl, arguing that the city should move forward with his Initiative based on moral imperative and financial gains. He went all the way back to the Constitution and how the founding fathers built this nation on white supremacy and we should ignore the unjust Harris rider that keeps DC from spending its funds to enact retail sales legislation that is a symptom of modern-day racism. The whole affair was rather epic and at the same time, anticlimactic.
The absence of senior DCMJ leadership at the meeting was telling of its chances for making it on the ballot. There was some hope in the packed room when the BOE announced only two dissenting letters to the Initiative that quickly dissolved when it was revealed that one was from the office of our local Attorney General basically saying ‘nope nope nope.’ They made time for public comments and many of our I71 brands were in attendance, but then they wanted us to go on the record with our home address if we wanted to speak. Personally, I’ve made a few too many enemies with my big mouth and opinions to go handing that info out and it quickly became apparent that BOE didn’t care what we had to say anyway. None of our valid reasons for legalization were the issue at hand. This was about the Harris rider, and if we can come up with a legit way to circumvent it or get rid of it, they’re all on board. Til then? Nada Surf, bro.
Several brands expressed confusion and frustration at the current set of regulations and requested that there be some clarification as to what I71 allows so that they can remain in compliance. Two different DC-based cannabis business associations, both formed in the wake of the raids, spoke on behalf of their members. Shoot, I was gonna start one myself, but decided I’d take my vacation before starting anything new. I still might.
In summary, here’s what happened:
DC: Yes, so would we, but that pesky Harris rider…
US: What if we give you lots of money? Like, lots?
DC: Yeah, it would be financially irresponsible of us to risk a funding shutdown from Congress just cuz y’all want to sell weed without worrying about the cops.
US: But there’s many other good reasons to do it!
DC: We already said no to money. Plus, don’t y’all remember when Congress threatened to send the Mayor and City Council all to jail over I-71? We’re good, bro. You actually crack this case, we’re all ears.
So there you have it, folks. Now I am officially on vacation so don’t bother me! Tomorrow starts my BEST OF GT series where I dust off some of my favorite reviews from times of yore and do a little DVD commentary on them. One is gonna drop every day while I’m gone automagically. Please enjoy and keep signing up for the newsletter while I’m gone, I’ll be back next week. Toodles!