Baltimore City Council unanimously voted on Monday to establish a new commission to supervise funds received from the Maryland Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund—a program designed to restore resources to minority communities most impacted by racist policies and incarceration from cannabis prohibition, Emily Hofstaedter reports for WYPR.
What will the commission do?
The commission will include 17 members, all but one of which will be appointed by the mayor, who will determine how to spend the money awarded to the city through the program, with a particular focus on bolstering investments in local programs focusing on low-income communities.
Earlier this month, Gov.Wes Moore signed legislation establishing the fund, which will generate income through the sale of recreational cannabis once it becomes legal in Maryland on July 1 and distribute it to communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. Though the state law does not specifically mention racial groups, the Baltimore City ordinance does require members of the commission to understand systemic racism and the harm done to minority communities by drug laws.
Anything else I should know?
Under the state law, a “disproportionately impacted area” is defined as a geographic boundary with more than double the state’s 10-year average for cannabis possession charges. The state will determine the amount of money to allocate to Baltimore City by comparing the difference between the number of cannabis possession charges in the city compared to the total charges in the state between July 1, 2002 and Jan. 1, 2023.
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