About Mass. Cannabis Equity Council Press Press Releases & Media Advisories What's Happening

Cannabis equity business owners, EON oppose license cap change amendment to Eco Dev bill

We sent the following letter to House leaders on behalf of our EON and our Massachusetts Cannabis Equity Council, an advisory committee of Economic Empowerment and Social Equity Program owners, stressing our objection to the license cap amendment and in support of several that would positively impact the entire industry.

Governor Maura Healey and the Legislature are working on an extensive economic development 10-year bond, and the House of Representatives is about to debate amendments to that bill.

One of those amendments would potentially open the floodgates to future market consolidation, devalue cannabis equity licenses, and undermine the Commonwealth’s equity goals to benefit a handful of MSOs and other operators.

In response, we sent the following letter to House leaders on behalf of our EON and our Massachusetts Cannabis Equity Council, an advisory committee of Economic Empowerment and Social Equity Program owners, stressing our objection to the license cap amendment and in support of several that would positively impact the entire industry.

For more background, please check out this coverage in Talking Joints Memo and The Boston Globe.

Please reject Amendment 10 and adopt #3, 480, 621, & 576 to protect equity businesses

Dear Honorable Speaker Ronald Mariano and Honorable Chair Aaron Michlewitz,

We are writing to express our strenuous opposition to Amendment #10 filed by Rep. Sam Montaño to H.4789, An Act Relative to Strengthening Massachusetts’ Economic Leadership.

As you may have read, a small number of cannabis operators and their large number of lobbyists and attorneys have been working to weaken the Commonwealth’s strong anti-monopoly protections and devalue the licenses held by cannabis equity businesses by eroding restrictions on the number of licenses a business or individual can own.

As you may recall, representatives from Equitable Opportunities Now, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, and the majority of operational cannabis equity businesses wrote to express our deep concern regarding the process and policies related to a proposal that would have increased the Commonwealth’s retail and adult-use cannabis license caps from three to nine and significantly changed our ownership definitions.

According to the Boston Globe, the proposal was changed from an increase to 9 to an increase to 6. Now Amendment 10 would increase the current cap of 3 licenses by 4, provided such ownership of the additional 4 licenses was 49% or less. We wish to stress that the majority of operational cannabis equity businesses oppose any changes to the Commonwealth’s license caps or ownership limits.

  • Nothing about us, without us: Cannabis equity business operators have overcome significant hurdles to secure their licenses and build their businesses and they deserve a say in any discussion about changing the rules that affect their business plans.
    • To date, EON, BECMA, and most delivery operators have not been included in any meaningful discussions about license cap proposals and have had no opportunity to weigh in on this amendment. 
    • Neither the Cannabis Policy Committee nor any other committees have had an opportunity to consider any proposals to change ownership restrictions.
  • Businesses deserve stability and predictability from their government: Abruptly changing ownership restrictions will create a significant disruption to hundreds of businesses across the Commonwealth that have built their business plans around our current license cap and ownership framework. Please don’t destabilize countless businesses for the benefit of a handful.
  • Don’t devalue cannabis social equity business licenses: When jurisdictions loosen their ownership limits, it starts a race to the bottom by driving away new investors from the market and enabling MSOs to acquire them for pennies on the dollar. Sending a message to other investors that the Commonwealth is going to enable MSOs that are already at our ownership limits to take more of the market will hurt everyone.
  • Don’t undermine your equity goals: The cannabis industry is unique within the Commonwealth’s economy given that the voters and Legislature centered social justice in establishing the market with the Legislature encouraging equitable participation through regulation and funding programs. Enabling MSOs to exclusively acquire equity businesses will undermine the Commonwealth’s goal of full participation.
  • Don’t create a crack in the dam: MSOs and their allies have made clear that they want as many licenses as possible with proposals for increases of nine, then six, and now up to 49% of additional businesses – and proposals to donate $50,000-$100,000 to the equity fund for the privilege of acquiring these licenses. Once any change is made to our existing rules, we should expect them to keep coming back for more increases until the market is fully consolidated.

In addition to rejecting Amendment #10, we urge you to support and adopt the following amendments that will help increase opportunities for cannabis equity and non-equity businesses:

  • Amendment #3 by Rep. Tyler – Purchase Limits
  • Amendment #480 by Rep. Soter – Streamlining Cannabis Agent Registration
  • Amendment #621 by Rep. Rogers  – Clarifying Retroactivity
  • Amendment #576 by Rep. Hunt – Cannabis Research

On behalf of EON’s supporters across the Commonwealth and the hardworking cannabis equity business leaders who advise our Mass. Cannabis Equity Council, thank you for considering our request to reject Amendment 10 and adopt Amendments 3, 91, 480, 621, and 576. Please let us know if we can be a resource.


Shanel Lindsay, Co-Founder, Equitable Opportunities Now

Armani White, Policy Co-Chair, Equitable Opportunities Now

Kevin Gilnack, Policy Co-Chair, Equitable Opportunities Now

About Equitable Opportunities Now

Equitable Opportunities Now (EON)’s mission is to ensure equitable ownership and employment opportunities for Black and Brown communities who have been targeted by the War on Drugs. We are seeking general support funding for our constituent-led statewide legislative and regulatory advocacy campaigns to create equitable economic opportunities in MA’s cannabis industry. Learn more at

About the Mass. Cannabis Equity Council

The Massachusetts Cannabis Equity Council (MCEC) is an informal advisory committee of Economic Empowerment and Social Equity Program certified business leaders with at least a provisional license from the Cannabis Control Commission that supports EON’s policy and programming.

MCEC Members

  • Shanel Lindsay and Kevin Gilnack, Equitable Opportunities Now (Advisory) 
  • Tristan Thomas, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (Advisory)
  • Devin Alexander, Rolling Releaf
  • Ross Bradshaw, New Dia
  • Jaison Cramer, Greenerside Farms
  • Kobie Evans, Pure Oasis
  • Chris Fevry, Dris Brands
  • Nike John, The Heritage Club
  • Brian Keith, Rooted In
  • Drudys Ledbetter, Zèb Boutique
  • Laury Lucien, Major Bloom and Cami Flower
  • Kim Napoli, Esq., Underground Legacy Social Club LLC
  • Ruben Seyde, Delivered, Inc
  • Jeff Similien, Lowkey
  • Phil Smith, Freshly Baked
  • Gabe Vieira, Zyp Run
  • Armani White, Firehouse