State Director of Minorities For Medical Marijuana Missouri - "I'll Be Voting No On Amendment 3"
On September 1, 2022, Brennan England, who serves as the state director for the Missouri chapter of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, made the following statement against the Amendment 3 campaign, indicating he was a no vote:
As state director for M4MM/Missouri: Minorities For Medical Marijuana Missouri I’ve done my best to use my position to make a valuable, lasting impact by keeping a seat at the table, a voice in the room and feet to the fire on the issues that matter most to us as BIPOC…those of us most affected by the drug war and left out of the booming industry.
With regards to the LegalMO22, I’ve done my best to make the concerns of the black and brown community the focus of my content with media. I’ve worked to keep my personal bias as far from the conversation as possible.
The last thing I want is to make simple polarizing statements that don’t challenge people to engage with the details of the situation and come up with their own decision.
That’s why I held the digitally broadcasted public forum and debate on adult use initiatives in January. For me, it’s most important to create transparency and information via thorough questioning and analyzition. I’m asking how (or not) these adult use initiatives meet our collective needs as peoples and an organization.
That said, I’m channeling those concerns to fuel the fire I keep at the feet of the industry and it’s makers. Some of the industry folks feeling the heat from me I’ve known or been acquainted with for years and fought alongside them for this plant at one time or another.
It’s challenging to navigate opposition without animosity but it’s possible and extremely affective for accomplishing long term success.
Missouri needs to take a stance with the other BOLD leaders in cannabis law around the country and engage impactful, equitable cannabis law. We CAN and SHOULD be an innovative national leader in cannabis law reform. Hearing how “conservative” we are as a state and how this is “the best we can do” . Isn’t going to make us feel any less left out and undervalued.
We know states have gotten away with building industries on the backs of the cultures and communities that have stewarded this plant. Missouri is no different. Our medical marijuana program has no affective social equity components.Now we’re supposed to trust the same group and be comfortable with these watered down provisions.
Expungement provisions shouldn’t even count as social equity provisions. Decent human beings would agree this should be handled with or without adult use legalization, minority focused licenced programs or any other profit generating cannabis venture.
Micro licenses COULD be badass but the program is way too limited and is SHOULDN’T be our only option.
I know many license holders that although they know this could be more equal and equitable, are going to “hold their nose and vote yes” to protect their assets…some just trying to get out of the red. I understand that and that’s not enough to have me support this initiative.
I will be voting NO for Amendment 3.
For full transparency and to add some dimension, M4MM’s National advisors gave some insight during A3’s writing process. I’m not sure what all of the exact suggestions from our organization were. All I can say is that if this is how it looks and we had minority involvement in the making, I can only imagine what it would look like if we had no one in the room to input and push back.
If it passes- I’ll be doing my damndest to make sure we get the most of of the small opportunities being presented to us as possible.
If it fails, I’ll continue to work with law makers, lobbyists and political heads to sculpt language that gives us more skin in the game.
Mr. England joins other significant voices from Missouri's Black communities, including the Editorial board of the St. Louis American, Kansas City community activist Derron Black, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, State Representative Wiley Price, and State Representative Ashley Bland-Manlove, who have spoken up against the Amendment 3 campaign.