Kacey Auston, a co-owner of the proposed Lemonnade cannabis dispensary, which will be located in the old Bank of America building in the Tower District, stands at a row of former checkout windows. The pharmacy will focus on edibles.
California’s cannabis social equity program for the people harmed by the drug war is not fair. Regulators have overregulated the industry right out of the hands of the people who brought the industry here.
Their stingy application processes in local jurisdictions break the people broken by the war on drugs even more. The very people who have campaigned for cannabis legalization for decades, like me, can’t qualify for a permit because I’m not a millionaire.
After running 420 College, a cannabis management consultancy that helps people get into the cannabis industry, for the past 10 years, I can’t get into the industry myself. I keep getting disqualified because “I don’t have enough money”. That’s what Pasadena, Mendota, and Firebaugh told me. It looks like I’ll lose the fight in Fresno too.
Take Los Angeles. It seems like the primary focus of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation is to bring the already low-income social justice applicants into bankruptcy. I know the words may seem too harsh for “helping” people, but are they really? What’s the point of notarizing every page of the application when you can change anything you want on the application at any time, even after you’ve completed the approval? None. After all, you own the business, so you can do whatever you want with your business. What’s the point of keeping this applicant waiting eight months for a change? How does this help someone? How is this social justice?
Fresno is the second example. Officials require social justice applicants to have $ 400,000 in the bank to qualify for approval. To qualify, you must have a low income. Having $ 400,000 in the bank is not a low income. When you judge applications based on their ability to fund their businesses, you are “fairly” excluding people from the industry and reserving them for those who can afford it. This is not the American way. America is the land of the free market economy. This industry was built on the back of mom and pop stores and now the same people are being shut out of the industry they created and that is not fair.
This is a fair and equitable way of “manipulating” a process for only a select few. Justice is not the same. Although they sound similar, there are worlds in between. Placing a social justice applicant on the same footing as a millionaire and demanding that person have half a million in the bank is not in itself fair treatment.
Social justice applicants do not claim equality or equal treatment; We are demanding equity in the industry that we have built.
It seems that diversity and inclusion in cannabis is causing professional athletes to retire and the drug war victims from Los Angeles to Fresno to go bankrupt and struggle to survive in this unequal and unjust process.
Limiting the number of permits and speaking of social justice is not fair. Asking half a million dollars in the bank to qualify for a permit isn’t fair. We have suffered in the war on drugs, and capping permits creates a monopoly where only the rich can enjoy the benefits of the regulated cannabis market and the rest of us are turned back into criminals. What happens to all the people who created this industry? We need an answer.
George Boyadjian from Fresno owns Fresno Originals. Email: email@example.com