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Cannabis and a Just Economy

Just Economy Conference – May 7, 2021

With the legalization of cannabis in more and more states nationwide, banks and other financial institutions are gearing up for potential massive involvement with the cannabis industry through the SAFE Banking Act. This, however, does not reverse the negative racial disparities of cannabis arrests and convictions, which historically occurred in areas where people of color lived. In order to improve social equity, we need to create a just economy by repairing this damage through equitable licensing practices, ensuring the industry reflects the local community, addressing financial barriers to market entry, and reinvesting tax revenue into communities directly harmed by this injustice.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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