Massachusetts recreational cannabis social equity-boosting measures fail

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.

Efforts to increase social equity funding for adult-use marijuana applicants in Massachusetts and diversify the industry have stalled in this year’s state legislative session.

Massachusetts lawmakers declined to endorse a number of last-minute amendments designed to bolster the state’s retail cannabis social equity programs, the Boston Business Journal reported.

Massachusetts’s adult-use cannabis program includes social equity provisions, but the efforts have been slow to develop. In fact, the state’s first adult-use store with social equity owners didn’t open its doors until January.

Lack of capital often is cited as the biggest barrier.

“We haven’t gotten equity,” Shanel Lindsay, CEO of Boston biotech company Ardent Cannabis and co-founder of advocacy group Equal Opportunities Now, told the Business Journal.

“And it’s frustrating to see (Massachusetts’ cannabis industry) held up as a success story, when we are not that.”

The amendments would have:

  • Created a social equity loan fund.
  • Used industry fines to help subsidize the program.
  • Strengthened state oversight of cannabis municipal contracts.

For a sampling of organizations and efforts that support, foster and enhance social equity in the cannabis industry as well as opportunities for minorities, overall diversity and racial justice, click here