Sen. Markey Says Big Businesses Exploit “Patchwork” Of Cannabis Laws

The US senator from Massachusetts will speak at Parabola Center’s BPL event this weekend

Ahead of speaking as part of the Parabola Center’s crash course on federal legalization at the Boston Public Library on Saturday, US Sen. Ed Markey took to Twitter with a promotional video message addressing the cannabis industry.

“A patchwork of local and state laws creates confusion and barriers,” Markey said. Adding that “big business exploits [those barriers] to make big bucks at the expense of communities already decimated by the war on drugs.”

It’s a fitting ice-breaker for the event, where participants will address the biggest question of all: “If the national legalization of marijuana is indeed inevitable in America, then it’s time to ask the next question: Who gets to write those laws, and who will benefit?”

As Parabola puts it, “Already, aspiring weed billionaires and powerful corporations like Amazon and Altria (aka Philip Morris) are hounding Congress to pass bills that would let them be the first to profit from federal legalization—leaving behind small business owners and the many communities that were torn apart by decades of overpolicing.”

The center, which “pushes for stronger social equity policies and greater market access for small businesses within cannabis,” added: “It’s time to fight back.” And in doing so, “Parabola Center is bringing together a group of the country’s top drug policy experts to dissect the current political landscape and chart a better course toward comprehensive federal cannabis reform that centers all of us, not Wall Street gamblers.”

The night before, on June 9, the center will also host a party at the Pellas Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston with special guest Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s fame (who also just launched a pretty remarkable cannabis nonprofit project) and art by Timmy Sneaks.

“There needs to be a unified voice that is free of corporate influence or funding,” Shaleen Title, CEO of the Parabola Center and a longtime advocate who served as a commissioner of the Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020, told Talking Joints Memo. “The best way to push for a model of federal legalization that protects small cannabis businesses is to listen to the thousands of them who already exist.”

More info and tickets here