Harlem Business Alliance raises economic equity concerns as marijuana is legalized
Marijuana legalization may be signed into law, but the Harlem Business Alliance says there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.
The nonprofit helps the local business community and emphasizes on Black-owned businesses.
For months, Maria Granville says she has been helping the alliance, scouring the marijuana legislation and reading it line by line.
She says a big goal is to advocate for the legalization of marijuana when it comes to economic development, especially for the Black community.
“The social justice/criminal justice piece of it is well received... I have a large concern with the economic part,” said Granville.
The HBA is pushing for language in the bill to be changed.
"The first thing I would say would be to change the definition of a social and economic equity applicant which is what NY state calls it in the legislation. We would like it changed to individuals most harmed,” said Granville.
She said this would encompass those arrested, convicted, or those who lived in a community that was over-policed to make sure there is economic restorative justice.
"We have to continue the fight, it is not over, OK. And I don't want to be sitting here two or three years from now when everyone is saying, 'Oh my gosh, we only have one Black dispensary in Harlem,” said Granville.
The HBA has a petition pushing for change in hopes that while their ideas didn’t make it into the language of the bill, they will come out during the implementation.