Oakland, California – On Tuesday, May 17, Council Members Loren Taylor and Treva Reid join the community advocates Deacon Hellen Harvey, Charles Roseau, Gamila Abdelhahimand John Jones IIIto show their full support for the END HARM (New Deal Emerald Healing and Repair Measure) modification of the charter. If passed by voters in November, this innovative ballot measure will channel Oakland’s commercial cannabis tax revenue to black and brown communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs that in Oakland has led to over 12,655 individual arrests for cannabis-related offenses between 1995 and 2015 with 77% of those incarcerated being black and 15% being LatinX. The supporters of END THE EVIL anticipate that over $12 million will be allocated to support investments in social equity, including, but not limited to:
Reintegration programs and support for former prisoners;
Community mental health services;
Access to affordable and transitional housing; and,
Workforce development and training.
Cannabis Equity Program Participants (Business Owners Affected by the War on Drugs)
At least 5 votes are needed to put this measure on the November ballot and the more than 1,200 community supporters of END THE EVIL are hoping for unanimous support from the eight board members. Asked about their authorship of END THE EVIL amendment, Taylor Council Members and Reid everyone shared the importance of enacting this remedial legislation.
“As public servants, it is our duty to advance policies that eradicate the systemic damage caused by past leaders. Oakland’s war on drugs, among other institutional factors, has had a lasting negative impact on our city’s black and brown communities. Now that marijuana is legalized, it’s fitting that the very system that has over-criminalized cannabis use in some areas is giving back to those same communities,” said Council Member Loren Taylor“I am grateful for Reid Council Members and gallo who agree and have joined me in improving this legislation. I can’t wait to see the transformational impact this has on our community.
“I represent District 7 where the Emerald New Deal (END) was born out of community organizing in District 7’s Sobrante Park. A neighborhood of more than 65,000 people, with 80% black and brown neighbors, struggles under the weight of decades of racism, disparity, inequity and of disinvestment. The War on Drugs has impacted our family stability, housing stability, health, and educational and financial well-being, resulting in levels of poverty and mass incarceration that will take years to heal. . As national support for the decriminalization of cannabis use grows, we must ensure that commercial cannabis tax revenues are dedicated to benefit historically affected black and brown communities. I am grateful for the strong community coalition and their early engagement with my office to partner and help advance equity in our collective efforts to END THE EVIL now!” said Reid Council Member.
Although he was unable to attend Tuesday’s press conference, Councilor Noel Gallo is also entirely in favor of the measure.
The Emerald New Deal is already supported by more than 40 local organizations, including the black cultural area, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Urban Strategies Councileyelash, Spiritwurx and West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. Community advocates leading the effort to mobilize citywide support stress the significant impact it will have on Oaklanders recovering from the war on drugs.
“The Emerald New Deal is a landmark ordinance that will fulfill some of the promises made when we legalized marijuana and established the cannabis program. We do this not only for those who have suffered, but also for those who continue to deal with the effects of broken families and trauma, and for our future generations. The Emerald New Deal will redirect tax revenues from cannabis businesses and support programs, initiatives, businesses, organizations and services that can lift our future generations out of the grip of inequity and racism…” shared Gamila Abdelhahim; “…we now turn to all other City Council representatives and ask them to recognize the harm that has been caused, to be in this monumental moment with us, and to vote to uplift our future generations.”
John Jones III asserted, “When it comes to the war on drugs, it is not enough to simply acknowledge and/or apologize, but rather to provide restitution and reparations for the harm inflicted on the black and brown community.”
The END THE EVIL the legislation is expected to be presented at the Community and Economic Development meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the initiative during public comments.