We Rise to Legalize Letter to US Senate Majority Leader, Charles Ellis Schumer.
Honorable Charles Ellis Schumer
US Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tuesday July 20, 2021
US Senate Majority Leader Schumer,
On behalf of We Rise To Legalize and its supporters we commend you for your leadership in proposing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (the CAOA). You set the precedent being the first United States Senate Majority Leader to support the end of federal cannabis prohibition. As an organization founded in New York State we take pride that our US Senator is leading the charge.
While we agree CAOA is a meaningful step we believe more must be done to make it truly historical and impactful legislation. As a voice for American communities impacted by the War on Drugs we believe remedying the abuse against targeted communities is priority because they suffered the direct injury and their generations are still being impacted today. We therefore formally request a meeting with you to discuss several revisions necessary to strengthen CAOA.
Two of the most important revisions necessary to make CAOA historical and impactful legislation are:
(1) providing explicit language admitting government fault and the US role in criminalizing cannabis; and
(2) offering immediate pathways for reparative reinvestment into impacted communities that incentivize private-public participation.
A. Admission of Government Role
CAOA should provide language admitting fault and explicitly detail America’s role in prohibition to rebuild public trust and so future policy makers can learn from past mistakes. Some critics argue that by admitting fault it creates liability and compensating injured communities is too costly since America is at early stage recovery from a global pandemic. We do not believe financial wherewithal excuses an aggressor from acknowledging guilt. Admission of guilt is the beginning of the healing and rehabilitation process.
B. Pathways Reparative Measures
In addition to admitting fault, CAOA should immediately institute innovative reinvestment plans that encourage private-public participation that will not overburden the US economy but incentivize restoration efforts. We acknowledge the US Treasury does not currently have the funds necessary to compensate the many communities impacted by the War on Drugs. However creative reparative measures can be immediately implemented without any expense. We have worked with leaders in the investment community to develop ‘win-win’, forward thinking solutions to create funds dedicated to reparative justice without increasing taxes or adding to the US deficit.
Since its inception, America has shown the world that we can achieve the impossible if we rise together. And repairing damaged communities impacted by the War on Drugs is yet another hurdle that we can surmount. First we must acknowledge our errors in judgment then immediately implement creative solutions to repair those harms. Taking these steps will reinforce America’s commitment to protecting all its citizens; especially when an American policy caused the harm. If we rise together we can make CAOA the new standard for social justice reform and community renewal. We welcome the opportunity to offer suggestions and receive your guidance to make CAOA historical and impactful for all Americans.
Again thank you for your leadership and consideration.