Black Entrepreneurs File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Attorney General For Discrimination In The Legal Marijuana Industry
Photo: Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield (left) and Peter Manning (right), members of Black Excellence In Cannabis
Seattle, WA (BlackNews.com) – Members of a group called Black Excellence In Cannabis filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month against Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for what they see as state officials running a corrupt and discriminatory licensing and regulatory scheme in the guise of a legal recreational cannabis industry.
U.S. Attorney General, William Barr is also included as a defendant, as the U.S. federal government has been acting as an accessory by funding Washington State to enforce federal laws while regulators operate and profit from an illicit licensing and taxation racket at the expense of African Americans’ Constitutional Rights.
Constitutionally protected Civil Rights at the center of this suit are; Title 42 US Code § 1981, 1983 and 1985.
Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield and Peter Manning are turning to the U.S. federal courts for justice after years of working for inclusion for African Americans in their state’s lucrative recreational cannabis market.
They have pled their case in administrative proceedings, meetings with WSLCB Executive Director Rick Garza and Board Members Jane Rushford, Ollie Garrett and Russ Hauge. Also, in meetings with multiple public officials and state legislators, at public hearings and finally granted an audience to plead their case directly to Governor Jay Inslee – all to no avail.
“What we have in Washington is a system where wealthy white men have performed a hostile takeover of our State’s entire cannabis market,” said Manning.
Minorities and medical cannabis activists who are on the frontlines of the fight for cannabis legalization are almost entirely excluded from the legal market.
“Washington has a strong and diverse cannabis community. Participation in the economic opportunities generated by the regulation and sale of cannabis should be inclusive and reflective of that community,” said Barfield, who also acts as the current director of Black Excellence In Cannabis.
Blacks were arrested at four times the rate of whites for cannabis violations yet only own and operate less than 1 percent of Washington’s licensed cannabis businesses.
Many may be inclined to believe that the plaintiffs are just disgruntled failed applicants who were unable to transition from the unregulated world of medical cannabis providers, to the regulated, WSLCB, seed-to-sale traceability system and meet their compliance requirements.
For more information about Black Excellence In Cannabis, visit www.BlackExcellenceinCannabis.com