“I don’t see the current model that we have to be an effective model to make it easier for minority business owners to come in and be able to get these licenses,” Bradley said. “I just see it’s a way of creating an oligarchy of those who have those licenses to be able to strengthen those licenses and have a stranglehold on the process.”
The current model is creating an “uneven playing field” onto which Black and Brown communities will be shut out by large companies because the legislation allows the submission of multiple applications for a license at a cost of $250 each, Bradley correctly pointed out.
The senator emphasized that minority communities would not earn money from cannabis sales, but rather would be targeted by them. Bradley drew a comparison to issues that arose from the widespread acceptance of tobacco, lottery and cigarettes.
“If you go in any urban part of America from sea to shining sea, whether you’re in Bridgeport, Connecticut, or Compton, California, and everybody in the middle, you see liquor stores in every single corner of our community, and you see the adverse effect that has on the community, right? Whether it’s domestic violence, or issues of thievery, larceny, or just simply, you know, an overall ineptitude, that happens by being addicted to a substance,” the senator said. What’s To Be Done? Bradley offered several solutions to avoid such a scenario.
Firstly, he suggested that money from marijuana sales should be invested in more education programs as that would “level[s] the playing field.”
Developing rigorous regulations regarding the number and location of cannabis shops is also essential.
“We have to create red zones or party districts as to where you can get the access and not allow it to go the way of lottery and alcohol, tobacco — we can’t let that proliferation happen — if we do that, then we can hopefully create the safeguards necessary,” Bradley said.
In addition, counseling and drug rehab services would also make a difference for those in need.
Bradley pointed out that instead of being innovative, his fellow Democrats are following what everyone else is doing or has done by using models from other states such as Colorado. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, he proposed doing some research on the downstream costs and effects of the adult-use cannabis market.
Bradley concluded with this question: “We say, well, they’ve gotten all of this money from the sale of marijuana, but then we don’t do the backend study — how much does that cost in police services, emergency response, DCF reports, substance abuse clinics, etc.?”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.
The Fresh Toast is a daily lifestyle platform with a side of cannabis. For more information, visit www.thefreshtoast.com.