December 2, 2022

Black Communities Must Have Access to Cannabis Business, Says Letter

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today sent a letter to Sen. Cory Booker urging him to support the SAFE Banking Act in Congress.

The Institute also urges all of New Jersey’s congressional delegation as well as state legislators to put their support behind the SAFE Banking Act.

The Institute’s letter to Sen. Booker included the text below:

“We’re writing today about an urgent matter that will affect not only New Jerseyans, but Americans across the country: the need for Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act.

“As you know, Black and other communities of color have been most harmed by the war on drugs and must have the opportunity to equitably benefit from the surging growth of the cannabis industry.

“As one of the most diverse states in the country, New Jersey can be a leader in making the cannabis industry diverse and equitable. While we already have preliminary licensing in place for social equity applicants, implementation is challenged by the current federal banking laws that make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for many small business owners of color to participate in this burgeoning market.

“It is time to change that by passing the SAFE Banking Act.

“Racial and social justice are impossible without economic justice. And economic justice is impossible without the removal of unreasonable obstacles to meaningful participation in our economy for people of color. The fact that cannabis has been a major factor in criminal injustice makes the need to address this issue all the [more] pressing in this context.

“With repeated passage of the SAFE Banking Act in the House of Representatives, it’s time for the Senate to step up. We urge you to build upon your strong record of advocating for racial justice and equity by lending your robust support to this bill and encouraging fellow Senators to do the same.

“Many are saying that the latest moment of ‘racial reckoning’ has passed. It is up to us and leaders like you to ensure that its lessons remain current – and implemented into lasting policy.”