Boston, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) held an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors on Wednesday evening, July 1, 2020, to address allegations made against its Chairman, Samson Racioppi and its President, Bill Flynn, relating to Racioppi’s affiliation and participation in Super Happy Fun America, the sponsor of last year’s controversial Straight Pride Parade and more recently, the Rally to Restore Sanity, a pro-police rally held on June 27th on the steps of the Massachusetts State House.

The rally in question began as the MassCann Board commenced the process to call an emergency meeting of the Board for the purpose of discussion related to Mr. Racioppi’s continued status within MassCann. Numerous groups, organizations and standing members contacted MassCann in protest of Racioppi’s affiliation with the rally in question.

As four members of the Board had already called an emergency meeting in accordance with the organization’s by-laws, the organization took into consideration the feedback received over the course of the past several days related to both Mr. Racioppi and the President of MassCann, Bill Flynn.
While MassCann respects free speech and rights of affiliation, the values of those involved with the protest in Boston on Saturday were diametrically opposed to what the Board felt to be the standing mission of the organization. After Board deliberation, during which the Board made clear its unanimous opposition to Racioppi’s continuing participation in the organization, Mr. Racioppi resigned as both a director and member of MassCann.

As MassCann is an inclusive organization that has always supported a wide array of progressive social, political and civic causes, Racioppi’s decision to resign from the organization was welcomed by the remaining Board members. 

The emergency meeting was streamed live on Facebook with nearly 4,000 comments, many of which were focused on the removal of the Chairperson and President. The Board approved a no-confidence vote in the President, Bill Flynn, and approved two resolutions recommending the members call a special meeting to remove Mr. Flynn as President and Board member. The organization’s Secretary reports that before the meeting had officially closed, her email inbox was quickly filling with requests for a special member’s meeting. MassCann will be reviewing the requests and confirming membership status in order to expedite a special meeting.

MassCann, and its Board, wish to make clear that there will be zero tolerance for any bigotry, hatred or prejudice of any kind within the organization and will issue a formal resolution after its next meeting to that effect.

A primary focus of MassCann’s mission is ensuring lawmakers, regulators, public figures and the public itself understand the sordid legacy of racism which facilitated cannabis prohibition and the demonization of minority communities of color for over 100 years.

The legacy of that racist drug war, and the systemic barriers created in Black and Brown communities around the United States as a result, is an ever present reminder that the scars it left behind continue to impede meaningful social, racial and cultural justice for those who were so unjustly victimized at the hands of the American penal system.

In furtherance of that strategic mission related to educating the public regarding the harms caused by the racist legacy of marijuana prohibition, MassCann commits itself to creating a space that provides zero tolerance for bigotry, hatred, prejudice or bias in any form.

Beyond that, MassCann has a longstanding commitment to ensuring participation of marginalized individuals regardless of race, orientation, creed or otherwise. MassCann is recruiting additional diversity from Black and Brown communities, along with the disabled, to fill the newly opened Board seats.

MassCann’s “Demystification of Cannabis” series assisted Economic Empowerment and Social Equity applicants seeking a marijuana business license with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.  MassCann continues its efforts to develop expungement clinics for individuals charged with marijuana-related offenses that are now considered legal in the state.

Beyond that we are committed to bringing in members of the board who are from Black and Brown communities in perpetuity, developing direct pathways of support for minority owned business in the cannabis space, and providing an unconditional platform for voices from those communities.

Fundamentally, as affirmed in the statement released by the Board on June 14th, MassCann vehemently reasserts its support for the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a statement we feel demands more than words on a page, and we commit to making that structural change going forward for the betterment of the cannabis community.

-The Board of Directors, The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition