As the state of Massachusetts sets to work on building a now legal pot industry, legislators and regulators are faced with the challenge of making cannabis more accessible to the demographic in areas previously hurt by marijuana ban.
The Cannabis Control Commission in the state has been rolling up their sleeves in tying up laws that will help racially and economically diverse communities get equitable access to marijuana.
The Commission adopted the frameworks for a priority review process to help screen license applicants which should be able to help the Commission evaluate whether an applicant will promote economic empowerment in said communities. The framework will also help establish a program aimed to provide business assistance to entrepreneurs from these communities who want to prop themselves up as players in the new industry.
The programs that were discussed by the Commission on Thursday not only aim to make said agenda possible but also help those people who were convicted for a marijuana related crime during the prohibition years.
For applicants who are planning to get reviewed, the Commission stated that you will get review priority if you meet the following criteria: a) majority of the business is owned by people who have lived for five of the last 10 years in areas considered to be of disproportionate impact; b) majority of ownership must have economic empowerment experience, c) 51 percent of the business’s employees must be living within areas of disproportionate impact which should increase to 75 percent by the start of the business, and d) 51 percent of the business’s employees must have prior experience of economic empowerment or those who have been convicted before due to marijuana.
Those who will meet the Commission’s standards will then move in line towards operations.