Last night, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved a budget amendment to commit all annual revenue from the taxation of marijuana to equity-based programming and initiatives in Washtenaw County. The tax is expected to generate over $200,000 in revenue every year.
“We recognize the disparate negative impact the War on Drugs continues to have on Black and Brown communities throughout our county and the country,” said Justin Hodge, Commissioner for District 5 and Chair of Ways and Means Committee, “We see it as fitting that these funds should be used to expand the work outlined in the County’s Racial Equity Policy and to further our work addressing the injustices and divestment that communities of color in our county continue to face.”
The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved two other resolutions at their meeting related to racial justice.
The first resolution condemned racially restrictive covenants. These covenants were included in the deeds of many Ann Arbor area homes built from 1912 to 1970 to bar non-white households from buying and owning specific properties. This is one example of how housing discrimination was not solely an act of prejudice but also a planned and intentional act of policy and programs throughout the 20th century. While no longer binding, many of these covenants still exist in thousands of deeds in Washtenaw County.
The second resolution recognizes Juneteenth as a day of celebration to honor the physical freedom of enslaved people in America. The Board’s action makes it so the County will observe Juneteenth annually on June 19th (or the closest weekday if June 19th falls on a weekend). The County will commemorate the 2021 Juneteenth observance with a flag-raising ceremony and program on Friday, June 18th, 2021, at 9 am in front of 220 N Main St in Ann Arbor. For more information about the ceremony, please contact Latitia Sharp at [email protected] or by calling 734-881-7403.