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By Mike Crawford & Grant Smith
On Friday, December 6th, city councilors, consumers, small business owners, and equity proponents will gather to announce a boycott of Cambridge and Somerville based dispensary group, Revolutionary Clinics with a demand that they drop their lawsuit against the city of Cambridge.
“Revolutionary Clinics (a corporate RMD) is trying to sue to stop a first in the nation priority period for equity applicants in Cambridge (unless corporate dispensaries are allowed into the priority queue).
We, the consumers, small business owners, and equity proponents of Massachusetts this grotesque lawsuit, which clearly seeks to put corporate profits ahead of communities who have been most impacted by the war on drugs.
For context; in a milestone Massachusetts victory for small business, the Cambridge City Council granted local entrepreneurs certified as “Economic Empowerment” applicants a 2-year priority period to recreate wealth within their community following a September 2019 vote.
However, because corporate profits would be impacted by that proposal, Revolutionary Clinics (and their lawyers) are demanding a Judge rule that no town or city in Massachusetts should ever be able to have another such priority period going forward (unless corporate RMD’s, who never suffered at the hands of the drug war, are included).
As such, we are calling a collective BOYCOTT on Rev Clinics UNLESS:
-Rev Clinics drops the lawsuit against social equity”
On the latest episode of The Young Jurks, an interview with the lead organizer of the “Drop the Suit” event, Joseph Gilmore, President of Mass Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC), we’ve selected pertinent quotes from the guest, host and listener call-ins.
Joseph Gilmore, President Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council;
“We are calling for a collective boycott against Revolutionary Clinics, which is the dispensary currently engaged in a lawsuit against the city of Cambridge for their involvement with the Cambridge Equity Ordnance (which is meant to benefit people who have been incarcerated by the war on drugs and really create a market exclusively for people who have economic empowerment status).
That equity ordinance gives a two year priority period, for those seeking recreational cannabis licenses in Cambridge, to applicants who are designed by the state with “economic empowerment” status. That status is meant to reflect the disproportionate harm that certain communities suffered as a result of the war on drugs, and Cambridge followed the guidance laid out by the Cannabis Control Commission as to implementing a priority period, reasonable in length, for those applicants.
That proposal, at the core of Cambridge’s equity ordinance , is important because this is the first time that any City in the entire country put this together, but Revolutionary Clinics believes that the city of Cambridge shouldn’t be able to have this priority period. In fact, they believe that no town in the entire state should be able to have an equity period of this nature.
I personally know a lot of advocacy groups (and a lot of people in the community) who fought really hard for the language in MGL chapter 94 G section 484; it was in that law, created when marijuana was legalized, that mandated that we create meaningful participation in this industry among communities that were harmed by the war on drugs. Out of that law, in turn came Economic Empowerment and Social Equity status.
So, if the state created this status for communities harmed by the drug war, and if we haven’t seen more than 1 or 2 applicants from those communities granted licenses in Massachusetts, then creating the kind of exclusive market for those applicants (as was done in Cambridge) is one pathway to ensure those people are the ones to get licenses.
However, Revolutionary Clinics believes they should be on an equal footing with those who are in those social equity programs…that they should be prioritized because they got there first. They’ve maintained their monopoly on medical cannabis sales since medical passed. These were the people who had enough money to get in to that market, and now they’re in a position to transition to recreational use and attempt to monopolize that market. As such, we believe that the adult use market should reflect the social justice goals of Question 4 rather than giving priority to the people who have had the money all along (such as these RMDs).
Fundamentally, this is where we’re drawing the line; if groups like these RMD’s are going to fight against the people who were designated to benefit from this recreational law, and if those RMD’s want to put their profits ahead of those people (and equity on the whole), we’re drawing the line in the sand and loudly saying no.
These RMD’s want to protect their investment. They want to continue their monopoly even if its at the expense of equity.”
The Young Jurks Host, Mike Crawford;
“So, just to be clear what we’re talking about here; the City of Cambridge decided that existing RMD’s (registered medical dispensaries) that are already open should not get the leg up in priority licensing for recreational cannabis. In turn, the City of Cambridge has decided to make those RMD’s wait two years and instead they gave an exclusive window for the first two years to those with Economic Empowerment status. So now, the big dispensary in town, Revolutionary Clinics, is suing the City of Cambridge that could put programs/priority periods such as this at risk (as just happened in Boston where the fear of this kind of lawsuit resulted in that city choosing not to have a priority period for those EE or SE applicants).
This group, the Commonwealth Dispensary association members, has made a lot of money already. We know that there is a lot of money involved here because of the campaign that these dispensaries waged against this equity ordinance in Cambridge. They spent money on the big time lobbyists, they spent money to “rent” medical cannabis patients to come out in “patient t-shirts”, etc.
So people need to show up Friday night, I know I’m going to be there; 6pm, 45 Mt Auburn St in Cambridge.
People are really quite interested in this; this is about doing a boycott of Revolutionary Clinics (a medical dispensary in Somerville and Cambridge) because they are suing the city of Cambridge because Cambridge put forth an equity ordinance that says, “you know what big cannabis, you have to wait two years before you can open your recreational store, because we’re going to try to let the small guy, the local, the people who have been most harmed by the drug war, have an opportunity here. To actually have a chance.”
The reality is that these big dispensaries are already open, they already have a leg up on location, they have a leg up on money, they have a leg up on relationships, they have a leg up on every aspect of the permitting process. If it wasn’t for this moratorium in Cambridge, those big companies would simply monopolize in Cambridge just like they do in other localities with this kind of priority period. Cambridge decided to do something different, to try to give the small guy and opportunity, and for that they have decided to sue. They have tried to scare every other city and town by doing that and, as I was saying, it should be the opposite.
If these guys had any sense they would expand the market, because they are taking a hit right now; they are not taking that hit from social equity or by economic empowerment applicants. Their profits right now are taking a hit because of the traditional market, and because of the state of Maine, and they are never going to have a chance if they continue this big cannabis cartel.
As we have seen, most of the callers who have been calling in have been engaged in, effectively, a boycott already. That’s not even because of this specific lawsuit, it’s because of the prices, because of the mindset, and because of the business practices. The reason why this is so obvious to so many of us is that we’ve seen this behavior occurring over a period of years. We’ve seen who these dispensaries are.”
“This Cambridge situation actually goes to a much larger issue; the priority period that was passed in Cambridge for Economic Empowerment applicants is really a crucial program because, for those who are not aware, on the state level there are not a lot of economic empowerment (or social equity) businesses that have been licensed. I think out of every single approved state level license, only 1 of them, right now, is an EE applicant (and they are not even open yet).
The reason why this is happening is that, although these Economic Empowerment applicants have priority status on the state level, there are so many municipal hurdles involved in the process that only the big corporations are really getting through that process.
Therefore, in turn, as to this priority period in Cambridge, I’ve heard from a local Economic Empowerment applicant that her lawyer advised her that, after the priority period was signed into law in Cambridge, the big companies started pulling out of Cambridge. As a result, her lawyer now feels she has a far better chance of getting through the municipal permitting process in Cambridge and, eventually, obtaining her state license. “
“I just wanted to say that I support the boycott; one thing that annoys me about Revolutionary Clinics is that its located where the old “Out of the Blue” art gallery used to be in Central Square.
So, because of that, when I walk by the Revolutionary Clinics property in Central it reminds me of gentrification. These big business dispensaries coming out and kicking out the little guy. I would much rather some local shop open up in that space if they have to kick someone local out (like the Out of the Blue gallery) they should at least try to bring in someone local to replace them.
As a result, I am behind what you guys are doing and I appreciate you very much for taking the time to let people know about this issue. I support the boycott 100%.”
“I’m an artist from Boston and I just wanted to call in; I hear you guys talking about equity and everything, man. I just wanted to say I support MRCC and Dark Media Matters; those guys are the man, they really put on for the community. There is not really a lot of support for black people out there, so I really appreciate what MRCC is doing. Its hard for black and brown people, and we really just want to stand up for the community. Joe, MRCC, Dark Media Matters, these guys are doing this kind of thing all the time and they’re really the biggest people in the community.”
Friday, 12/8, 6-8pm, Drop the suit: Boycott Rev Clinics, 45 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, free to the public.