Equitable Opportunities Now (EON) was founded after passage of Question 4 to ensure equitable ownership and employment opportunities for Black and Brown communities who have been targeted by the War on Drugs.
Prohibition decimated communities across Massachusetts because our leaders didn’t listen to the people being impacted by their policies, and we won’t make the same mistakes during legalization!
EON uplifts the voices of and empowers entrepreneurs, activists, and community leaders to pass policies that deliver on the equitable opportunity that voters and legislators intended to foster.
EON’s key policy priorities include:
- Cannabis Control Commission regulatory policies that support disparately harmed communities
- Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund revenue and access
- State legislation to support equity businesses
- Municipal equitable licensing policies and education
Read our latest policy news…
- Equitable Opportunities Now Public Comments Regarding the CCC’s Model HCAEquitable Opportunities Now submitted the comments below with these suggested red-lined edits to the Cannabis Control Commission in response to a call for public comments to their proposed draft Model HCA. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback. RE: Equitable Opportunities Now Public Comments Regarding the CCC’s Model HCA Dear Cannabis Control Commission Acting… Read more: Equitable Opportunities Now Public Comments Regarding the CCC’s Model HCA
- Public comments to EOED regarding 400 CMR 8.00, “Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund”In response to draft regulations 400 CMR 8.00, “Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund” issued by the Executive Office of Economic Development, Equitable Opportunities Now issued the following public comments.
- Honoring cannabis equity pioneer Nike John of The Heritage ClubIt is so important to lift up success stories and celebrate the business leaders pioneering a way in this industry — and EON could not be prouder to celebrate our friend Nike John, the founder and CEO of The Heritage Club and The Boston Heritage Fund at our Celebration of Cannabis Equity Champions on Tuesday!
- Acting Chair Concepcion, Asst. Secretary Vega and other leaders to speak at Celebration of Equity ChampionsThird-annual fundraising reception will honor contributions to Massachusetts’ historic cannabis equity policies at licensed cannabis equity business New Dia Fenway
- Special Guest: EOED Asst. Secretary Juan Vega to share Cannabis Social Equity Fund update at Celebration of Equity ChampionsEOED Assistant Secretary for Communities and Programs Juan Vega will share general information about the agency’s plans for the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund and share the EOED’s progress in implementing the changes included in the FY23 supplemental budget (that you helped to pass!) in coordination with the Legislature, Executive Office of Administration & Finance, Comptroller’s Office, and other government partners.
- EON Letter to CCC Regarding Model HCA, Model Municipal Equity Ordinance, & Municipal ComplianceFollowing the Cannabis Control Commission’s Dec. 14, 2023 meeting, during which Commissioners and staff discussed progress in implementing HCA and municipal equity regulations promulgated pursuant to Ch. 180 of the Acts of 2022, Equitable Opportunities Now submitted the following public comment…
- Acting CCC Chair Concepcion & Commissioner Camargo to address EON supporters at Celebration of Equity ChampionsEON is honored to recognize Cannabis Control Commission Acting Chair Ava Callender Concepcion, and other government and community leaders, for their contributions to equitable opportunity at our Celebration of Cannabis Equity Champions next Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at New Dia Cannabis Co.’s Fenway location.
- BECMA, EON urge CCC to Repeal Burdensome Regulations Targeting Equity BusinessesThe initial framework for Marijuana Delivery Operators and Marijuana Couriers has failed to create meaningful economic opportunities for the communities intended to benefit from it due to overly burdensome regulations that emphasize an overly cautious and costly approach that exceeds the standards set by any other state in the country. On behalf of Equitable Opportunities Now, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, and our members and supporters across the Commonwealth, we urge the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to make the following regulatory changes at the earliest possible opportunity to unlock the potential of these important license types…
- Come hear from Boston Cannabis Business Manager Shekia Scott!EON is proud to count Mayor Wu’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, and City of Boston Cannabis Business Manager Shekia Scott, as allies and leaders working to create equitable economic opportunity. Please join us to honor City of Boston Cannabis Business Manager Shekia Scott and other government and community leaders at our Celebration of Cannabis Equity Champions!
- Passage of FY23 closeout supplemental budget advances Cannabis Social Equity FundYesterday, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Maura Healey signed, the closeout FY23 supplemental budget that will unlock millions of dollars in grants and loans to cannabis equity businesses. This is an important step toward creating economic opportunity for communities harmed by the war on drugs, as envisioned by voters when they passed Question 4.
- Advocates applaud progress on cannabis equity fund in supplemental budget, urge quick passage“Language in this bill will unlock millions of dollars to be reinvested back into communities that have been torn apart by over-policing and the war on drugs — and it couldn’t come a minute too soon. The loans and grants this program will provide can help save businesses and jobs before the holidays, but only if all legislators put the needs of the Commonwealth’s residents first by quickly passing this bill in an informal session.”
- Before you log off for Thanksgiving: Speak up for Black & Brown entrepreneurs!A Conference Committee has been negotiating the differences between the chambers’ bills for a week already, and could reach a compromise today — or in weeks. Once legislators reach a compromise, there’s no guarantee it will pass without objection from those opposed to other parts of the bill. Entrepreneurs from communities harmed by the war on drugs can’t afford to wait any longer. Let your legislators know that further delays aren’t acceptable and urge them to pass the Cannabis Social Equity Fund fix ASAP.
- You’re invited to EON’s Celebration of Cannabis Equity ChampionsBecause you showed up and spoke out at our community regulatory review listening session, Cannabis Control Commissioners and staff showed up and listened. And they passed regulations that they — and you — should be proud of. Now, it’s time to celebrate how far we’ve come! Please join me at EON’s Celebration of Equity Champions hosted by New Dia in Boston on Tuesday, December 19 at 6 PM.
- Recap + Guest Opinion: Please Advance The Social Equity Trust Fund Fix | Talking Joints MemoThe group Equitable Opportunities Now, which “educates and empowers people of color to become active participants in the Massachusetts legal cannabis market,” is on top of the situation, and has sent two letters to Beacon Hill lawmakers this month outlining the situation as well as the stakes.
- Tell your legislators: No more equity fund delays!Communities harmed by the war on drugs can’t afford to wait any longer! Ask your legislator to pass the cannabis equity fund technical fix today!
- Advocates urge legislators to advance cannabis equity fund with technical fix and new investment in supplemental budgetEquitable Opportunities Now, a nonprofit that has fought for equitable cannabis policies since the passage of Question 4 — including Chapter 180 of the Acts of 2022, which created the new fund last year — is asking legislators to make an immediate one-time $50 million investment in the fund before the end of the year in addition to passing Gov. Healey’s proposed long-term fix.
- Cannabis Control Commission votes to put new restrictions on payments to municipalities | Worcester Telegram & GazetteMembers 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…
- Lawsuit, Scandals, And Audit Aside, Massachusetts Regulators Approve Major Changes | The BluntnessEven with all of the rigmarole surrounding regulators at the moment, some advocates and watchdogs went out of their way to praise the body this past week. The group Equitable Opportunities Now, which “educates and empowers people of color to become active participants in the Massachusetts legal cannabis market,” said the new “HCA and municipal equity rules will create new opportunities for communities harmed by the war on drugs.”
- Equitable Opportunities Now Applauds New Cannabis Equity RegulationsNew HCA and municipal equity rules will create new opportunities for communities harmed by the war on drugs…
- Urgent CCC Regulatory Review Action AlertSpeak out ASAP to protect municipal equity!
- Equitable Opportunities Now urges Cannabis Control Commission to take bold action to support disadvantaged businessesAdvocates call for expanded local and state equitable licensing ratios & removal of medical dispensary prioritization
- Former Commissioner Shaleen Title’s Regulatory Review Public Comments to EON’s Listening Session
- Advisory: EON to host Virtual CCC Regulatory Review Listening Session on Thurs. 7/6 at 1 p.m.All five Cannabis Control Commissioners, along with staff, are anticipated to listen to the community’s feedback and speakers will include leaders from EON and other advocacy organizations, Sen. Liz Miranda, Boston Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion Cannabis Business Manager Shekia Scott, and about a dozen entrepreneurs from communities harmed by the war on drugs.
- Guest Opinion: Black And Brown Cannabis Entrepreneurs Can’t Afford To Keep Waiting | Talking Joints MemoThe investments and policy decisions we make now will have a lasting impact on whether we create a truly equitable industry.
- Guest Opinion: Where Is Mass Cannabis Tax Revenue Going? | Talking Joints MemoAre we equitably reinvesting cannabis revenue in communities harmed by the war on drugs?
- EON testifies in support of slate of statehouse cannabis equity billsThe investments and policy decisions we make now will have a lasting impact on whether we create a truly equitable industry.
- Join us to share your thoughts with Cannabis Control Commissioners and Staff on Tuesday, 7/6 at 1 PMEON is excited to share with that Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien, Executive Director Shawn Collins, and Commissioners Nurys Camargo, Ava Concepcion, Kimberly Roy, and Bruce Stebbins will join EON to listen in on our Virtual Community Regulatory Review Listening Session on Thursday, July 6 at 1 PM!
- Take our CCC Regulatory Review Survey!Please take our survey below to share your recommendations, concerns, questions, research, and examples about how we can improve the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulations to increase equitable economic opportunity in MA’s cannabis industry!
- Register for EON’s Virtual CCC Regulatory Review Community Listening SessionSign up for this virtual session to share and/or listen to recommendations and concerns from Economic Empowerment applicants & licensees, Social Equity Program participants, entrepreneurs from disparately harmed communities, and other stakeholders about how we can ensure effective and equitable implementation of An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry!
- Join EON's CCC Regulatory Review Planning Session!Sign up for this virtual session to talk with fellow EON supporters & stakeholders to discuss the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulatory review and plan future engagement and advocacy to ensure effective implementation of An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry!
- Regulators agree to new approach on cannabis cafés | State House News Service via The Boston GlobeState House News Service Reporter Chris Linski provided great wire coverage of the CCC’s decision to eliminate the existing social consumption pilot program and focus on long-term, statewide, comprehensive regulations, excerpted below from The Boston Globe but also appearing on WWLP, the Berkshire Eagle, and elsewhere. Here’s an excerpt: Marijuana regulators voted Monday to scrap… Read more: Regulators agree to new approach on cannabis cafés | State House News Service via The Boston Globe
- Cannabis Control Commission adopts new approach to licensing social consumption sites | GBH NewsWith the pilot program now off the table, Camargo said commissioners are inviting public outreach on social consumption before it dives into the formal regulatory process. She said they’ll talk to officials from other states where marijuana is legal and host listening sessions, including a virtual one coming up in June.
- Mass. Regulators Vote To Scrap Social Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program | Talking Joints MemoFollowing an hour-long discussion on the matter, commissioners voted to abandon the pilot program. Instead, the CCC will devise a universal framework for all applicants in any municipality that decides to “opt into social consumption license types, either through a ballot question or ordinance” after those types are established by the CCC.
- Statement from EON Policy Co-Chair Armani White regarding CCC vote to remove social consumption pilot from regsThe Cannabis Control Commission voted today to remove the existing but not operational social consumption pilot program from Massachusetts regulations during its second public meeting on the topic. Economic Empowerment applicants and Social Equity Program participants are expected to have an exclusivity period for social consumption licenses. The current pilot limits licensing to 12 municipalities… Read more: Statement from EON Policy Co-Chair Armani White regarding CCC vote to remove social consumption pilot from regs
- Equity-Focused Nonprofit Publishes Open Letter To CCC About Social Consumption | Talking Joints Memo“Policies crafted with the best of intentions, burdened by lack of support and/or overly onerous restrictions, don’t yield the intended result.”
- Social Consumption Pilot Program Public CommentsAfter more than five years and a significant new cannabis law addressing social consumption, now is the time to move forward with a comprehensive, equitable, safe, and healthy onsite consumption licensing and regulatory framework.
- Public Comments to Cannabis Control Commission HCA Reform, Municipal Equity, & Social Consumption Working GroupsThe Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) is currently reviewing its regulations and considering policy changes that respond to recent changes in state law known as Chapter 180 of the Acts of 2022: An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry. Three Working Groups composed of Commissioners and staff have been discussing policies to implement HCA… Read more: Public Comments to Cannabis Control Commission HCA Reform, Municipal Equity, & Social Consumption Working Groups
- Help launch the new frontier of cannabis equity in MassachusettsAfter more than four years and two legislative sessions, you helped make history last year when Massachusetts legislators passed a comprehensive cannabis equity bill. Are you ready to do it again?
- Statement from Equitable Opportunities Now! Co-Founder Shanel Lindsay regarding Cannabis Social Equity Advisory Board appointments“Black and Brown entrepreneurs have waited far too long for an opportunity to participate in this new industry after years of criminalization have decimated their communities. We look forward to partnering with these impressive new Advisory Board members, Gov. Healey, Secretary Hao, and the Administration to ensure this new grant and loan fund program is created and administered equitably.”
- Survey: What’s next for cannabis equity in Massachusetts?
What policy changes would make Massachusetts’ cannabis industry more accessible to people from communities most harmed by the war on drugs?
Please take a few minutes right now to fill out our 2023-2024 Legislative Agenda Policy Survey and help shape the future of our advocacy for years to come.
- Vote TODAY!You matter — your life, your experiences, your knowledge, your opinions, and your vote! So please, if you haven’t yet: GET OUT AND VOTE today before 8 p.m. to decide who will be in charge of our government. Click here to find your polling place. In Massachusetts, we’ll be deciding our next state legislators, Governor,… Read more: Vote TODAY!
- Preview and join EON’s “Binder Full of Cannabis Equity Experts” (beta)EON is compiling a “Binder Full of Cannabis Experts” that will offer appointing authorities like the Governor, Attorney General, & Treasurer a resource for a diverse range of experts on the cannabis industry and equity.
- DEADLINE EXTENDED: Apply to the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund Advisory Board!The Equity Advisory Board will consult with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (“EOHED”) as EOHED administers the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund (the “Trust Fund”). A first of its kind, the Trust Fund was established to encourage the full participation in the state’s regulated marijuana industry of entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement (“ADI Communities”).
- Apply to be appointed to Mayor Michell Wu’s Boston Cannabis Board
The Boston City Council amended its cannabis ordinance to add two seats to the Boston Cannabis Board:
- “One member with experience in urban planning or land use”
- “One member with experience in a leadership role within a neighborhood association in Boston”
- Massachusetts needs YOU to get cannabis equity rightThanks to years of advocacy, there are now an unprecedented number of opportunities for local community members to have a say in how we implement laws as well as getting them passed. Please take a look at the opportunities below and consider applying or urging your friends, family, and colleagues to do so.
- Cannabis Confidential: Lawmakers pass landmark legislation enhancing equity in the industry | Worcester Magazine“Massachusetts made history with a nation-leading economic empowerment law when they legalized cannabis with Question 4, and nearly six years later, Legislators today made history with this vital — and overdue — grant and loan fund,” said Equitable Opportunities Now Co-Founder and Question 4 Co-Author Shanel Lindsay
- New cannabis equity law sparks hope for would-be business owners | GBH News“Without banking, there’s no way for a small business like ours to get their doors open without going to investors,” said Armani White, a Roxbury activist and marijuana business owner looking to break ground on a Hyde Park retail establishment soon. “This will allow us to not rely on that as much and allows us to be in a better financial position.”
- MA Gov. Baker Signs Marijuana Compromise Bill, Strikes One Controversial Section | BenzingaShanel Lindsay, a marijuana advocate who took part in the 2016 initiative petitions said that the governor and lawmakers “have made history with this vital — and overdue — grant and loan fund.
- Sweeping cannabis industry reforms signed into law by Baker | State House News Service (courtesy of 7News)“This bill is an important step forward in undoing the harms of prohibition and over-policing and will provide an important path for families of color to create jobs in their community and generate generational wealth.”
- Community leaders, advocates praise historic equity provisions in new cannabis law signed by Gov. Baker“Massachusetts made history with a nation-leading economic empowerment law when they legalized cannabis with Question 4, and nearly six years later, Gov. Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature have made history with this vital — and overdue — grant and loan fund,” said Equitable Opportunities Now Co-Founder and Question 4 Co-Author Shanel Lindsay.
- Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass Compromise Bill on Cannabis Industry Reform | High Times“This bill is an important step forward in undoing the harms of prohibition and over-policing and will provide an important path for families of color to create jobs in their community and generate generational wealth.”
- Equitable Opportunities Now, The Boston Foundation and other advocates praise compromise cannabis equity bill“Massachusetts made history with a nation-leading economic empowerment law when they legalized cannabis with Question 4, and nearly six years later, Legislators today made history with this vital — and overdue — grant and loan fund,” said Equitable Opportunities Now Co-Founder and Question 4 Co-Author Shanel Lindsay
- Take our community outreach survey!Your input is critical to ensuring that EON can continue to prioritize the programming and advocacy that our community values most! Please take a few minutes to share your insights by taking our survey now.
- Some advice for crafting final cannabis reform bill | CommonWealth MagazineAFTER YEARS OF ADVOCACY by community members, entrepreneurs, Cannabis Control Commissioners, and lawmakers, the Legislature is finally on the verge of passing comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that will help deliver on Question 4’s promise to support equitable opportunity in this new market. Both chambers’ bills take major steps toward improving equitable market participation through access to capital, incentives for equity in local licensing, and reforming our broken host community agreement system. Now, the devil is in the details.
- Cannabis equity call to action & career fair opportunityToday’s Boston Globe article highlights the urgent need for action amongst our elected officials with a deadline just 6 days away. Read the article below and make your calls this week- step by step guide included.
- Gov. Charlie Baker calls cannabis equity bill “important,” says “I certainly hope it gets to my desk”Calling the bill “important” and repeatedly expressing his desire to have a bill on his desk before the end of session, the Governor referred to cannabis equity and local licensing reform as among the “key priorities” in the bill.