City Council votes for equity in the marijuana sector


The cannabis sector is most likely to develop into a multi-million dollar sector, with early sales currently producing millions of dollars. To date, no certified minority-owned firms have been licensed by the state’s Cannabis Handle Commission. Through this week’s Council meeting, the Council voted 12-1 to pass an ordinance establishing equitable regulation of the cannabis sector in the City of Boston.

The purpose of the ordinance is to market and encourage equity in the marijuana sector with complete participation of residents from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively effect these communities, so that they advantage from this sector. A lot of components of Boston have been identified by the Cannabis Handle Commission as disproportionately impacted.

The language creates a new category of municipal equity applicants, which would include things like organizations with 51% or additional ownership stake from 3 or additional of the following criteria:

  • a particular person who has resided in an location of disproportionate effect for at least 7 of the previous 10 years
  • a Boston resident who has a previous arrest or conviction for possession, sale, manufacturing or cultivation of marijuana among 1971-2016 who has been a resident of Boston for the previous five years
  • somebody who has resided in Boston for at least the previous five years
  • somebody who is of Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, or Asian descent
  • somebody whose annual household earnings is at or beneath 100% of the location median earnings, or
  • somebody who is certified by the Cannabis Handle Commission as an Financial Empowerment Applicant.

The City of Boston would call for a 1:1 ratio of equity firms as defined by the above criteria compared to other firms. The inclusion of an independent municipal cannabis commission was removed from the ordinance by means of an agreement with the Mayor that there will be a separate Executive Order building that commission quickly.


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