In Oakland, Reparations Start With Inclusive Cannabis Permits

A story about weed that feels almost as good weed.

Lawmakers in Oakland, California, unanimously approved cannabis legislation that aims to empower aspiring black and minority weed entrepreneurs. 

From San Francisco Chronicle:

"The program would reserve half the city’s cannabis permits for applicants who fit a narrow set of criteria: Residents who have lived for at least two years in a designated police beat in East Oakland that saw a high number of arrests in 2013, or individuals who were incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes in Oakland over the last decade. Equity permit holders must keep at least a 50 percent ownership stake in their businesses. The city’s eight currently licensed dispensaries would be grandfathered in.

An industry stakeholder from The Cannabis Regulatory Commission, a government oversight committee, told reporters: “This is not equity, this is a travesty." 

An opposing takeaway is that Oakland's lawmakers recognized inherent racism plaguing the emerging weed industry and enacted legislation around a conversation that unfortunately is talked about much less often than expected legal-weed revenues are discussed.

Laws can always be amended. Can the same be said for attitudes and systemic inequities?