Evanston, Illinois to Fund Drug War Reparations with Cannabis Revenue

Evanston, Illinois has announced a plan to leverage adult-use cannabis taxes to provide financial assistance for minority communities who were most adversely affected by drug war policies.

Full story after the jump.

Evanston, Illinois has passed a race-based reparations statute that will leverage adult-use cannabis sales to provide financial assistance for African American residents, according to the Washington Post.

The tax will be set at three percent with a cap of $10 million over the next ten years. The council expects to use the money to provide job training courses and help Black residents to continue living in the affluent north Chicago suburb. According to data prepared by the city, over a thirty-six month period, 71 percent of people arrested for cannabis and 51 percent of people given citations for cannabis in Evanston were African American.

“It is this disproportional enforcing of cannabis enforcement that the new law is meant to overcome,” said Evanston’s 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons.

“Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that. Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement.” — Simmons, via the Washington Post

Illinois included a cannabis equity provision in their legalization bill passed earlier this year in June; adult-use cannabis sales become legal in Illinois starting January 1, 2020.

This is the latest effort to use cannabis revenue to counter the damage done by the war on drugs. Oakland, California adopted what is known as the Equity Permit Program, which takes a different approach to cannabis equity by helping black entrepreneurs get into the cannabis industry. States like Washington and Massachusetts have passed similar laws designed to encourage African American ownership in the cannabis industry. Multiple 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates, meanwhile, have called for “drug war reparations.”

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