Grow, Gift, Repair


Brookline will use some of its marijuana revenue to fund causes serving minorities in town, following a vote on the sixth and final night of the special Town Meeting.

Town Meeting passed Article 29, which establishes an Economic-Equity Advancement Fund, with a vote of 127-15, with 29 abstentions. The EEAF will be funded using the revenue the town receives from adult-use marijuana shops operating in Brookline.

This funding could help address the needs of underserved population in Brookline, including at the Brookline Housing Authority and in the business community, petitioner Donelle O’Neal said. It could also go toward community programs benefiting minorities, he said.

The concept is in line with Brookline’s values, he said: “We have a unique opportunity right here, right now to practice what we preach.”

It is also important to consider the populations strict drug laws have impacted most, O’Neal said. “For the town to benefit from [marijuana] and not give back to the people who were hurt by it is disrespectful,” he said.

Town Meeting Member Deborah Brown echoed that sentiment. “We went from slavery to Jim Crow, separate but equal. Hell, the GI bill, the New Deal. All of these great experiences have left us with very little,” Brown said. “And if you don’t think that sting sticks, you’re sadly mistaken.”

The Advisory Committee put forth a substitute motion, which would have offered an appropriation for Racial Equity Advancement as part of the town’s annual budget. Advisory Committee Chair Michael Sandman said the substitute motion would achieve the same goal, but through a simpler method than Article 29. However, the substitute motion failed with a vote of 76-90, and four abstentions.

In all, special Town Meeting ran six nights — unprecedented for special TMs, which rarely run over four nights, according to Moderator Sandy Gadsby. In fact, “We have only gone to four nights on one or two occasions in the past quarter century,” he told the TAB.