Op-Ed: Cities Must Step Up to Expand Cannabis Opportunities for People of Color

Despite legislative efforts to expand opportunities for people of color, few of California’s licensed marijuana businesses are minority-owned. In a recent op-ed, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President Julian Canete calls on local governments to do their part to bolster cannabis equity by getting off the sidelines and embracing voter-approved Proposition 64.

As Canete notes, great strides have been made at the state and local levels to expand equity in the cannabis industry. Thanks to two new laws, Assembly Bill 1793 and Senate Bill 1294, Californians with previous marijuana convictions are seeing those convictions overturned, while local governments are getting assistance to implement social equity programs. But as long as the majority of cities stand athwart the opportunities afforded by Proposition 64, little will change.

“Of the 482 separate municipalities statewide, only 158 currently offer any kind of cannabis licensing — meaning the benefits of the cannabis industry and social equity programs will continue to fail to reach Latinos and millions of other Californians,” Canete writes. “At the same time, operators forced underground run the risk of raids, seizures, and a continuation of bad enforcement policies that Proposition 64 was designed to bring to an end – and that AB 1793 is hoping to reverse.”

“It’s time that Californians demand local elected officials respond to the will of the 57 percent of voters who supported Proposition 64 at the ballot box and end cannabis moratoriums and outdated enforcement policies that continue to wreak havoc on our community and create economic inequality.”

Read the entire op-ed here.