In 2017, Massachusetts made a first-in-the-nation commitment to equity in our adult-use cannabis law. But so far, the reality has failed to live up to that commitment: fewer than 7% of cannabis licenses have gone to social equity businesses.
An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry, which advanced out of Senate Ways and Means today and is scheduled for a vote in the full Senate next week, will take major steps to change that. By reducing high costs of entry and providing new avenues to capital for social equity entrepreneurs, this bill tackles long-identified problems that have kept the cannabis industry in predominately white and already-wealthy hands. It’s a major breakthrough, not just for racial equity in this industry, but also towards closing our state’s gaping wealth divide overall and repairing some of the harms from the War on Drugs.
I’m thrilled to see this bill move forward, and I’m deeply grateful to Senate President Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, and Senators Jehlen, Collins, Gomez, Cyr, DiZoglio, and Moran for their partnership in making this happen.