In response to the May 13 release of Governor Newsom’s 2022 California state budget, Supernova Women — an Oakland nonprofit that works to create opportunities for Black and Brown people in the cannabis space — hosted a Capitol steps “Down with the Taxes, Uplift the People” Rally and Press Conference on Thursday, June 2, 2022.
Organized by chairman and executive director of Supernova Women, Amber Senter, who spearheaded the November 29, 2021 Oakland City Hall Rally and Press Conference following the vandalization and robberies of 15 licensed social equity cannabis businesses as well as the January 13, 2022 #NODRUGWARV2 Rally and Press Conference with Origins Council, Thursday’s 2 “Down with the Taxes, Uplift the People” Rally and Press Conference highlighted three urgent asks of the Governor and the Budget and Finance Committee ahead of their July 1, 2022 budget deadline: repeal the excise tax for social equity retailers across the state, reduce the excise tax to 5% for all others, and codify a statewide definition of social equity for the purpose of establishing eligibility for the state excise tax exemption.
“I have been in business 3 years and we have paid half-a-million dollars in excise taxes alone, and this is in addition to a state excise tax and a 4% city tax. This business has to survive. Failure is not an option for me. I’ve put everything I have into this business and being a social equity business taxed at 40% is killing me and my dreams of creating generational wealth for my children,” said Maisha Bahati, founder and owner of Crystal Nugs.
“Since the Governor and Legislature has made cannabis taxes a visible priority this year, we are here to demand that our leaders stop being tone deaf around economic and racial justice in the policies shaping the marijuana industry. We are left broke and unable to leave an inheritance for our children as California turns the cannabis industry into another cotton, tobacco, sugar, and other agricultural industry built on the pain and suffering of Black and Indigenous communities of color. Governor Newsom, we believe that you are a man of your word, a man of compassion, conviction, and courage. We do not want to believe that the only thing your administration has to level the cannabis industry playing field is justice delayed and denied, and empty promises. Mr. Governor, we call upon you to put action behind all of the messages around equity that you have sent at economic summits the last 12 years. We urge you to lead in helping to take California’s economic knee off the necks of drug war survivors who are trying to legally enter and meaningfully participate in our state’s cannabis industry,” said Malaki Amen, executive director of California Urban Partnership.
Founded by Black and Brown women in 2015, Supernova Women is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to empower Black and Brown people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space through education, advocacy, and network building.