Massachusetts regulators have approved a draft proposal that would give priority review in the recreational marijuana licensing process to business applicants from economically disadvantaged communities.
Adult-use license applicants must meet two of the following requirements to be eligible for priority review, according to the State House News Service:
- A majority of the entity’s ownership belongs to people who have lived in economically disadvantaged areas for five of the past 10 years.
- At least 51% of current employees or subcontractors live in economically disadvantaged areas, and that number will increase to 75% by the beginning of business.
- At least 51% of employees have a prior drug-related conviction.
- A majority of owners can demonstrate significant, past experience of economic empowerment.
Qualified applicants will enter the review process ahead of others, potentially allowing them to open before competitors.
Regulators haven’t yet defined what the thresholds for economically disadvantaged will be.
Los Angeles’ marijuana regulations include a similar program that requires the city to license applicants that were adversely affected by the war on drugs.