The Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC) is a coalition of government officials appointed or selected to lead, manage, and oversee regulatory and policy implementation for legal medical and adult-use cannabis markets across the nation and abroad. As leaders in post-prohibition cannabis policy, we focus on equity-centered regulation, industry best practices, and cannabis competency and standardization.
Our mission is to be a source of education for legislators and government agencies that aim to identify and eliminate racial disparities in cannabis policy and build sustainable cannabis regulatory frameworks designed to deliver on the reparative and restorative potential of the global cannabis legalization and decriminalization movement.
Described as the leading architects of cannabis equity and policy reform in the United States, our collaboration strategy is to work with stakeholders who believe in our values and commit to our shared goals. We believe all cannabis laws and regulations must include these ten principles of governance and policy:
Principles of Governance
In order for the communities most heavily impacted by cannabis laws to participate in the civic process, we must ensure that cannabis deliberation, testimony, and decision making is available to the public and open to public scrutiny.
Equity and fairness are the responsibility of all governing bodies overseeing cannabis at all levels, including the federal government and municipal governments, across leadership teams. This means they are not solely the responsibilities of people of color.
Good public servants make decisions based on evidence and share their process with the people they work for. We support mechanisms to collect the data resulting from the policies we enact and share it for others to learn and improve upon.
It is a welcome part of our responsibility as cannabis regulators to be held accountable for the impacts of the policies we design. Cannabis laws must include formal mechanisms for accountability to allow the effects of policies to be measured.
Although it is not a substitute for any other necessary element, the formal inclusion of Black, Brown, Indigenous, LGBTQ people, and women at top levels of entities engaged in cannabis policymaking is one crucial element of good governance.
Principles of Policy
Dismantle the Drug War & Its Impacts
Ending criminal penalties for the possession and use of cannabis is essential, but that alone cannot address decades of discriminatory enforcement. Legalization must be accompanied by the automatic expungement of all past cannabis convictions and the restoration of all rights, particularly voting rights. Ending the war on drugs also means allowing adults to grow cannabis for personal use, replacing dogmatic youth drug-education programs with an evidence-based approach, and adopting progressive and noncriminal enforcement strategies for substance use disorders and other drug-related problems rather than relying on police.
Protection for Cannabis Patients
Public policies need to reflect that cannabis is an effective treatment for a variety of health conditions. This includes eliminating THC-based drug screening for access to employment and public resources, including but not limited to housing, financial assistance, health care, and education. Patients and consumers should not be penalized in other settings, such as in child protective services or parole/probation matters. To safeguard individuals’ privacy, HIPAA and other patient-protection laws must be reinforced to accommodate cannabis patients with medical cards or physician recommendations.
Governments must engage directly with disproportionately harmed communities, speaking with and not merely about the populations most affected by the war on drugs. Budgets should spend at least as much on equity and reinvestment as they dedicate to drug enforcement. In places where commercial cannabis is legal, officials should establish equity-focused licensing and workforce development programs to ensure that the communities most impacted by the war on drugs are equipped to enter and control a fair share of the legal industry.
While revenue from legal cannabis can help fuel community reinvestment and other public programs, certain tax schemes can act as barriers to entry into the legal industry that puts equity applicants at a disadvantage. Too high a tax rate, for example, tends to favor bigger, better-connected companies, reinforcing institutional racism and other structural inequities. Disbursement of revenue should promote fairness, with tax money flowing only to jurisdictions that implement equitable policies.
Prevention of Monopolies & Oligopolies
Concentrating control of the cannabis market among a few big businesses is counter to the aims of equity. The number of business licenses any one entity may own or control must be limited. To ensure operators take these limits seriously, regulators must clearly and consistently impose meaningful consequences for anti-competitive activity. To prevent abuse of equity policies, regulators must invest appropriate resources into sufficient examination and investigation to ensure that companies are being controlled by the same people on paper and in practice.