Members of Equitable Opportunities Now, an organization that supports people of color becoming active in the cannabis industry, praised the commission for its focus in reviewing and passing the regulations despite facing massive challenges; not least the loss of Chair Shannon O’Brien, who was suspended with pay on Sept. 14. In another challenge, state legislators also recently requested the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy authorize outside oversight of the agency.
“These regulations show that meaningful policy change can happen with an inclusive and transparent process, one that actively seeks out and centers the voices of those living with our policies,” said Equitable Opportunities Now co-founder Shanel Lindsay. “These regulations are a huge step toward equity and opportunity for those our marijuana policies have been harming for decades. We thank Acting Chair [Ava Callender] Concepción for her effective leadership and all of the commissioners for their thoughtful deliberations throughout this process.”
In a victory for social justice businesses, if municipalities lift their caps on the number of licenses they allow, at least half of the new licenses must be reserved for social equity applicants. Municipalities that cannot attract those types of applicants have the right to seek waivers. Licensees must also formulate plans on how they can positively impact communities harmed by the war on drugs.