byMaureen Meehan, Benzinga Editor June 11, 2023 2:17 PM | 2 min read
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At a recent gathering in Boston that was focused on creating an equitable cannabis industry, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) got specific on how to do that.
“We know that legalization alone is not enough,” Sen. Warren said in a prerecorded video for the Saturday meeting organized by the Massachusetts-based Parabola Center for Law and Policy. “We need to ensure that the communities most harmed by the war on drugs are at the front of the line for reaping the benefits of legalization and we need to legalize in a way that avoids Big Tobacco and alcohol corporations or retail giants from dominating the cannabis market.”
Warren echoed Parabola’s take on the topic. “Already, aspiring weed billionaires and powerful corporations like Amazon
and Altria (NYSE: MO) (aka Philip Morris) are hounding Congress to pass bills that would let them be the first to profit from federal legalization— leaving behind small business owners and the many communities that were torn apart by decades of over-policing.”
Amazon recently released a statement reiterating its support for federal cannabis legalization.
Warren, however, is “deeply skeptical that Amazon’s lobbying is anything more than a self-interested move to monopolize yet another market, potentially blocking Black and Latino entrepreneurs from an emerging industry," reported Marijuana Moment.
“Now is the time to get creative and think big about how we can ensure fairness and competition in the cannabis industry,” Warren said “Right now, we have the rare opportunity to shape how a new industry develops from the ground up. And that means we have the chance to avoid repeating the same old story of corporations crowding out small businesses and dominating markets
The event was also attended by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's, Harvard's Dr. Peter Grinspoon as well as cannabis regulators from Massachusetts, NYC, Washington, D.C., the Drug Policy Alliance, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition and more organizations.