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Brooklyn Park mayor has aspirations to improve racial equity in cannabis industry

Brooklyn Park mayor speaks on plans to improve racial equity in marijuana industry
Brooklyn Park mayor speaks on plans to improve racial equity in marijuana industry 02:42

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — The mayor of one of Minnesota's largest cities is getting involved in the marijuana industry.

Brooklyn Park Mayor Hollies Winston says his focus will be on helping people of color get into the industry to improve racial equity in the cannabis space.

He'll be recusing himself from all city business regarding cannabis and THC regulations. Earlier this month, Winston stepped back from a city council work session.

"I have a company that does do some advocacy work," he said. "It may do some advocacy work around licenses, not sure yet, but I'm going to remove myself from this discussion."

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In an interview with WCCO, Winston explained further.

"I want to recuse myself, because as I get in this space and I make sure this information gets out, that means I'm taking a particular perspective, and I don't want that perspective to muddy anything that I'm doing at city hall," he said.

Being the mayor of Brooklyn Park is a part-time job that makes about $21,000 a year.

Winston says his recusal is preliminary because his venture is in its beginning stages. He didn't say exactly how he plans to improve racial equity or what his business actually is.

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"Whatever the best approach is going to be is going to be the best approach, so I don't want to get put into anything until we determine what that approach is going to be," Winston said.

Even though it's the state that will be issuing retail licenses, not cities, we asked Winston if he'd work with someone wanting to open a dispensary in Brooklyn Park. He didn't say he wouldn't, and he said he feels his recusal is sufficient for any potential conflict of interest.

Winston wouldn't say whether he has any clients yet.

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