If you’re a fan of slavery reparations and legal weed, have I got the town for you.
The wealthy Chicago suburb of Evanston has voted to funnel all proceeds from its coming weed dispensaries to a course-correcting cause. Rather than the city at large benefitting from the tax revenue, the dispensaries’ dough will be yielded to you, the residents…so long as you’re black.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Evanston leaders say they see the dispensaries as an opportunity to pay for a local reparations program that would address the lingering institutional effects of slavery and discrimination. The proposal passed 8-1, with Ald. Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, voting against it.
The effort will allow black residents to continue life in Evanston:
Officials say the program will help the city’s black population stay in Evanston while also providing training for jobs and other benefits.
“We can implement funding to directly invest in black Evanston,” said Ald. Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, who proposed the reparations bill.
Robin believes giving black citizens money from marijuana, specifically, is particularly fitting:
Simmons said the source of the money was especially appropriate, as many black residents were victims of the “war on drugs” and spent time in jail for smoking marijuana, a substance that in specific quantities will now be permitted in Illinois.
Therefore, the cash’ll be “invested in the community [the drug war] unfairly policed and damaged.”
Back to the demographic struggling to stay, between 2000 and 2017, the percentage of black folks in Evanston dropped from 22.5% to 16.9%. It should be noted, however, that that number is still higher than the national average (13.4, as per the last census).
The faithful near-17% will gain from 100% of the fund, which will max out at $10 million. The city estimates it’ll generate between half a million and $750,000 per year.
So exactly how are they gonna spend it? Well, apparently, it’s a Power to the People setup:
A committee of residents is currently examining ways to spend the money and how to best support the black community through housing, education and economic incentives.
Despite the controversial nature of resources being handed out strictly based on race, the vote was a smooth move:
Aldermen…praised their local effort, which no one spoke against at the meeting, as a good start.
“We are on the right track,” said Ald. Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.
Under state law, recreational weed becomes legal in Illinois next year.
And Robin’s sittin’ on go:
“I’m offering no apologies. This is for black Evanston residents. … It is going to bring the impact (to) our community that is overdue and is well-deserved.”