420 with CNW — Illinois City Uses Marijuana Taxes to Offer Reparations

March 30, 2021 03:25:02

The African American community has been through a great deal over the past few centuries. After being plucked from their homes in Africa, the first enslaved Africans hit America’s shores around 400 years ago, starting a long period of absolute misery for African Americans. Even after slavery was abolished, Blacks had to fight to end institutionalized racism and racial segregation in the country.

Although the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal, Blacks soon had to contend with extreme policing and sentencing due to the war on drugs, poverty, gang violence and the crack epidemic through the ’80s and ’90s. Believing that Blacks deserve some sort of restitution for all they’ve been through, especially slavery, an Illinois city has become the first in the country to offer reparations.

In an ironic twist, a 3% tax levied on the sale of recreational marijuana was used to fund these reparations. The Chicago suburb of Evanston had initially pledged to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years to certain communities, and on Monday, the City Council voted 8-1 in favor of the pledge. As such, the city will provide $400,000 in reparations to qualifying Black households in Evanston; $21,340 will be provided by private donors.

Every eligible Black household will receive $25,000 to cover home repairs, down payments for property, and late penalties or interest accrued on property located in Evanston. To qualify, a resident must be either a direct descendant of a Black individual who resided in the city from 1919 to 1969 or they must have lived in Evanston themselves. Descendants of people whose housing was affected due to the city’s past discriminatory policies, ordinances or practices and residents who were victims of Evanston’s discriminatory policies after 1969 also qualify for reparations.

Although the move is certainly a first, hundreds of organizations and communities have been considering the possibility of providing reparations to communities that have been impacted by discriminatory practices. According to Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, the groups pushing reparations have offered free legal assistance in case the reparations program runs into a legal challenge. Simmons, who first proposed the program back in 2019 before its adoption, says it is designed to help the Black community, which has been held back by Evanston’s anti-Black housing policies.

The money is just a start, he says, adding that repairing the harms done to the Black community will be a long road filled with several initiatives, programs, and even more funding.

Legalizing cannabis isn’t only facilitating the repair of the social justice harms done in the past. The industry has also allowed companies such as RYAH Group Inc. to impact how the patients of the future will be treated by tapping the power of data analytics through IoT devices.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to RYAH Group Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/RYAH

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