State marijuana regulators in Massachusetts have for long been baffled by how to ensure that there is equity regarding access to the different opportunities available in the cannabis industry. Now that dilemma may be solved if the proposals floated to ring fence cannabis delivery licenses for “equity” applicants are implemented.
The Cannabis Advisory Board has suggested that as the state moves towards making it possible for cannabis to be delivered to people’s homes, all the home delivery licenses should be reserved for minorities that suffered disproportionately during the war on drugs that lasted for decades.
The board is also suggesting that “equity” applicants should also be given priority when home delivery licenses are being awarded by the state. Equity applicants include people who have a marijuana arrest or conviction on their criminal history.
So far, most of the opportunities, such as dispensary licenses, have been gobbled up by the large cannabis companies at the expense of disadvantaged communities and “equity” applicants. This is because the large companies have easy access to resources and can therefore effortlessly meet the requirements needed by various jurisdictions.
This is in stark contrast to the members of minority populations, such as African-Americans, who may find it hard to obtain financing to secure the premises needed to set up a cannabis grow or manufacturing facility.
The recommendations of the Cannabis Advisory Board aren’t binding, so the Cannabis Control Commission isn’t obliged to implement them. However, the Commission has promised to consider the suggestions made by the Cannabis Advisory Board as it drafts the rules that will be followed when licensing home delivery firms.
If the proposals sail through, then home delivery of cannabis will be done exclusively by small businesses and “equity” applicants at least for the first five years.
This special consideration will foster an air of inclusion for those groups and people who felt that big businesses were locking them out of the cannabis industry. The five years of preferential treatment will also allow minorities and people from impoverished communities to accumulate some capital in order to get a shot at participating in the industry at a higher level.
Chances are also high that the bigger cannabis companies that would like to see their products delivered to people’s homes will help people from the minority groups to secure funding for their small home delivery businesses in a sort of partnership that will benefit both parties. The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and Therma Bright, Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) hope that the Cannabis Control Board in Massachusetts adopts the suggestions made by the Cannabis Advisory Board so that more people can be included in the industry.
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