Issues emerging with Oakland’s new marijuana equity biz program

OAKLAND, Calif. — When the city in May rolled out a new permit program for cannabis businesses that gave priority to individuals who’d been convicted of a marijuana charge in Oakland, or who were longtime residents of neighborhoods with the highest numbers of weed-related arrests, no one could predict how many people would apply.

Oakland, a pioneer in the national cannabis movement, was once again testing uncharted waters with a pot reparations program that required half of all medical marijuana licenses go to “equity” applicants. Some in the cannabis industry warned the mandatory 1:1 ratio would drive businesses to other cities.

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Yet as of July 21, 81 people had applied for licenses (excluding dispensaries), according to Assistant City Manager Greg Minor, who is overseeing the process. Out of these, 35 are “equity” applications, but only 10 had already secured a business…

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