Statement Against Racism and Police Brutality
The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association stands for unity, collaboration, and action. We believe in racial justice and stand in solidarity with the Black community against police brutality and racism. As our nation and communities grapple with the racial injustice at the foundation of our country and its violent effects on Black communities, we feel it is more important than ever to address the inequities in Maryland Medical Cannabis and initiate meaningful change. As a diverse organization serving a diverse community, we know the trauma inherent in being a Black person in America and understand the nuances that exist with being a Black person in the cannabis industry. Further, as the deaths of Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland and countless others show, despite most states having public access cannabis programs, police still frequently cite cannabis possession or odor as a reason for contacting and arresting Black people. In Maryland, there are over 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients yet Black people are still disproportionately arrested for cannabis possession. Due to issues and challenges in the current market, participation in medical cannabis programs only provide limited safeguards and our Black medical cannabis patients are at increased risk of police contact that we know can, unfortunately, turn deadly. Our newly appointed Board of Directors is committed to a fair, just and equitable Maryland Medical Cannabis market. We have requested a meeting with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to discuss opportunities to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in Maryland Medical Cannabis because when Black people are stigmatized, criminalized and marginalized for cannabis use they are at an increased risk of violent police contact. The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association encourages the Maryland Medical Cannabis community to take a stand and consider how increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in Maryland Medical Cannabis can protect Black medical cannabis patients from increased risk of harm and violence from the police. We look forward to working alongside legislators, policymakers and our greater cannabis community to enact meaningful, measurable change at this crucial moment in time.