Advocates for social fairness within the more and more authorized marijuana economic system are protesting keynote speeches by former Republican Home Speaker John Boehner and MedMen CEO Adam Bierman at South by Southwest (SXSW).
The Fairness First Alliance, a bunch that promotes racial and social justice within the cannabis business, stated that Boehner and Bierman’s scheduled Friday appearances on the pageant are a mirrored image of an ongoing pattern the place largely white males are profiting off a market whereas folks of shade proceed to disproportionately face criminalization for marijuana offenses.
Boehner has been the topic of ongoing criticism from marijuana advocates, who level out that he didn’t act on cannabis reform, and opposed sure legal justice reform laws, throughout his 24 years in Congress. Whereas he by no means launched, cosponsored or voted in favor of marijuana payments in that point, he joined one of many largest cannabis companies, Acreage Holdings, as a board member final 12 months.
In actual fact, Boehner constantly voted in opposition to an modification to guard medical cannabis states from federal interference.
Bierman has been accused in a lawsuit filed by a former worker of constructing racist and homophobic remarks. His firm, which was valued at $1.6 billion final 12 months, was additionally a member of a New York-based medical marijuana business affiliation that advocated in opposition to permitting residence cultivation in a memo submitted to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (The corporate informed Marijuana Second that it helps the proper to residence cultivation, however didn’t reply questions on its involvement in drafting the doc. It was later requested to depart the group over Bierman’s alleged remarks.) Acreage stays a member of the identical affiliation.
“Our protest at SXSW sends a daring message in assist of cannabis fairness, justice, and restore,” the Fairness First Alliance’s Felicia Carbajal stated in a press launch. “We stand collectively, recognizing that by defending essentially the most marginalized amongst us, we defend all of us. We assist the advocacy and resistance actions that mirror our a number of and intersecting identities, and we name on all defenders of human rights to hitch us.”
Activists held protest indicators over a close-by freeway and at a resort the place Boehner’s speech—which covers “the probably paths to nationwide legalization and the challenges and alternatives America’s quickest rising business face in the present day”—will happen on Friday. The indicators condemn “large marijuana” and name for social fairness insurance policies resembling neighborhood reinvestment.
“It’s clear this market goes to increase,” Boehner informed CNBC in an interview forward of the occasion. “And because it does, lawmakers in Washington should search for and understand that the federal authorities is method out of step. It’s time for the federal authorities to get out of the best way.”
Within the press launch, Fairness First Alliance listed further causes they’re protesting in addition to insurance policies they assist.
“In protest of:
—These profiting off of cannabis with out an intentional plan to restore and make entire people, households, and communities which were devastated by the Conflict on Medicine;
—These profiting off of cannabis who as soon as participated in prohibition;
—And those that would revenue earlier than liberating all cannabis prisoners and vacating all cannabis convictions
And calling for:
—10% of corporations’ annual income to be reinvested in communities disproportionately harmed by the
Conflict on Medicine;
—A brand new paradigm of social duty within the cannabis business;
—And public insurance policies that create an equitable, simply, and reparative business.”
“It’s hypocritical for an Austin based mostly firm like SXSW, an organization imbedded in a metropolis that preaches variety and inclusion, to neglect the work of committing to create an inclusive house, and as a substitute give a keynote platform to John Boehner,” Chas Moore, government director of the Austin Justice Coalition, stated. “That is disgusting.”
— AcreageHoldings (@AcreageCannabis) March 15, 2019
Marijuana Second reached out to Acreage for remark, however a consultant didn’t reply by the point of publication.
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Photograph courtesy of Gage Skidmore.