Pubic Advocate Candidate Rafael Espinal Says Marijuana Revenues Must Benefit those Historically Hurt by Drug Laws

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On the heels of a study released by NYU’s Rudin Center regarding directing marijuana revenue to fix the subways–Public Advocate candidate Rafael Espinal calls for money to be used to specifically support Black and Brown communitiesthat have been most historically affected by marijuana enforcement laws.

“As the elected official who first marched in the Cannabis Parade and a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization, I believe ‘weed for rail’ is misguided. The money from legalizing marijuana should be invested in communities that have been disproportionately targeted by marijuana enforcement. These are the Black and Brown communities like the one I grew up in and represent those who have for so long been targeted, arrested, criminalized and harmed because of minor drug infractions.

“This is the perfect opportunity to right a historic wrong. Let’s fix NYCHA, invest in bail programs to bail out low-level offenders and fund economic development programs that will focus on helping MWBE’s in the marijuana industry scale up. The MTA should be fixed, but not on the backs of those who suffered most because of punitive marijuana laws. Not using the funding for these aims would be a huge missed opportunity and is tone-deaf to the historic realities which make legalizing marijuana necessary in the first place.”