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California Controversies Over ‘Social Equity’ Licenses

California Controversies Over ‘Social Equity’ Licenses

More localities in California are putting in place “equity license” programs for cannabis dispensaries, prioritizing applicants from those communities that had been most gravely affected by cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs. Such programs are now officially encouraged under state law.But the continuing conflict over the equity program in Los Angeles casts a harsh light on the challenges of implementation and the social stakes involved.Last month, prospective cannabis entrepreneurs agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging Los Angeles’s contentious process for granting licenses, after the city government agreed to increase the number of applicants. The suit was brought by the Social Equity Owners & Workers Association (SEOWA), who argued that, even with equity measures officially in place, the process was designed in a way that still effectively excluded the prohibition-impacted communities. Gaming the System As the Los Angeles Times reports, principally at issue was the first-come-first-serve aspect of the application process. SEOWA asserted that more than 200 applicants who accessed the online platform before 10 a.m. — the official opening time—got an unfair advantage. Mere seconds could make the difference between getting a license or not. Those with the time and resources could essentially game the system, filling out the application beforehand and hitting “submit” at the precise stroke of 10.SEOWA, which called on the city to halt new licenses while the suit was pending, contended that “it is fundamental to any fair race that the competitors must start at the same time or, at the very least, be given accurate information…

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Source : cannabis now
Link to original : California Controversies Over ‘Social Equity’ Licenses
reposted by Cannabis News World

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