Manassas Democratic State Del. Lee Carter wants Virginia to commit future tax revenue from the sale of legal cannabis products to go to reparations for Black and Indigenous Virginians.
“Every single penny of tax revenue from legalized cannabis should go to reparations – that’s a moral commitment our history demands of us and a necessary first step in Virginia,” said Carter, who is in his second term representing the 50th District, which includes Manassas and part of Prince William County.
Last week, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission released a report, “Key Considerations for Marijuana Legalization, that projects commercial marijuana could eventually produce up to $308 million in annual tax revenues for the Commonwealth.
Carter has proposed the creation of a Governor’s Commission on Reparations that would explore the vast array of historical injustices against Black and Indigenous Virginians, including slavery, genocide, the domestic terrorism of the Jim Crow era, redlining and restrictive covenants in banking and housing, unconstitutional neglect of public schools, police brutality and mass incarceration, the destruction and displacement of Black communities through “urban renewal” projects, and the countless other examples of wrongs that demand equitable and immediate redress.
Carter emphasized that parallel federal action on reparations is critical, beginning with passing H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act sponsored for decades by the late Congressman John Conyers and now sponsored by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), Rep. Don McEachin (VA-04), Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11) are currently co-sponsors of the bill.
“The impending legalization of cannabis presents an opportunity for Virginia’s government to begin making amends for its complicity and active participation in some of the most horrific human rights abuses in this nation’s history,” Carter said.
“I urge all of my colleagues to join me in the commitment to using this revenue stream as the first of several dedicated to this purpose, and I hope that Virginia’s action on reparations can spur the federal government to take its own action in the immediate future.”