State marijuana regulators are counting on new home delivery companies to help bring social equity into the legal cannabis industry, by considering giving “equity” applicants and small businesses exclusive access to the initial licenses. Massachusetts state law requires that state regulators make an effort to open up the marijuana industry to communities that were disproportionately affected by enforcement of marijuana laws. Small business owners have struggled to break into the industry, which is dominated by large medical marijuana companies.
Economic empowerment applicants often do not have money to compete with larger, multi-state businesses when it comes to buying or renting expensive properties or negotiating with municipalities. The Cannabis Control Commission is just launching a social equity program, which will offer guidance and technical assistance to Massachusetts residents who live in a community disproportionately affected by drugs or who have had a drug conviction or have a spouse or parent with a drug conviction.
The Cannabis Control Commission is planning to write regulations by next summer to allow social consumption sites, like marijuana cafes, and home delivery of marijuana. Equity applicants would be defined to include communities harmed by prohibition and those with prior marijuana convictions. The program aims to help people convicted of drug offenses and those living in communities with high rates of drug crimes find ways to work successfully in the legal marijuana industry. The Cannabis Control Commission is expected to take the recommendations under consideration when it develops draft rules for social consumption and home delivery licenses this spring, with final rules anticipated by June.
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