Oakland’s Marijuana Equity Permit Program

sheet-of-money-hempIn March of this year, Oakland City Council implemented the Equity Permit Program for marijuana businesses. This program is designed to address the past disparities in the cannabis industry by giving priority to the victims of the war on drugs and minimizing barriers of entry into the industry. Ultimately, their goal is to remove the barriers for those who have been wronged in the past and level the playing field in the medical cannabis arena. From their research developing this program, the Oakland City Council discovered that over the past 20 years, the Black community has been dramatically overrepresented in cannabis-related arrests–reaching as high as 90% of all these arrests at one point in time.  

To qualify as an Equity applicant, the individual must be an Oakland resident who has an annual income at less than 80 percent of the Oakland Average Medium Income and either has a past marijuana conviction in Oakland or has lived for ten of the last twenty years in police beats that experienced a disproportionately higher amount of law enforcement. Additionally, the Equity applicants are not required to pay the permit application fee.

Since the access to affordable rent and business locations is a huge barrier, Oakland’s medical cannabis regulations created the Equity Incubator Program. Under this program, general applicants receive permitting priority if they provide Equity applicants with free rent for a minimum of 1,000 square feet of space to operate their business.

Overall, Oakland is addressing the discrimination within the cannabis industry that has plagued their city for far too long. Though the program may not be perfect, they are setting an example of how to begin to address marijuana-related oppression that has impacted historically marginalized groups.

You can find more information from the City of Oakland by clicking HERE.

7 thoughts

  1. Now THAT’s what I’m talkin about!! Action! Reparations!! Acknowledgement of the racist origins and cost of the evil drug war!!!

    Soooo… how does a white person like me qualify for Equity? My great, great, great, great grandfather was the Dutch-African pirate Anthony Van Salee… that’s like 1/64th African! I’m due reparations right?

    Lol… watch how every white American in Oakland starts checking “African American” in the next census. It’s gonna be as bad as self-identified “Cherokees” marking Native American on their scholarship applications. (Psst… you white, brah…)

  2. EQUITY for underrewarded handworkers: everywhere and surely in Oakland also, over recent decades possession of a microdosage utensil for herbal vaporizing was assumed to be evidence that an individual also possessed and used illegal cannabis and was grounds for confiscation, exhaustive search, etc. In many venues such a utensil was outright illegal because it was assumed to be only for cannabis (tobacco smokers are big cowboyhatted heroes who carry a gun and bravely endure heroic overdoses).
    Whatever reasons might exist for preferring a Joint, the main one always was that it was easiest to HIDE (despite being an overdose, there’s irony for you). Anyone who was persecuted or prosecuted for possessing a miniature serving device, or lived in fear of such, ought to qualify as an Equity applicant, and if interested in operating a handworkerly business making utensils for distribution to patients who purchase cannabis at a permitted dispensary, should have an adjoining space where basic and chooooooomette oneheaters can be manufactured, eliminating the need for hot burning overdose monoxide $iggerette papers, #1 medical disaster in the history of the human race (200 million deaths since 1853).

  3. @ Oakland City Council,
    Thank you for caring about social justice. You proven that hope still exists in politics! You have abated my cynicism about elected officials to that extent!

  4. How would I be able to apply or participate with the organization cause I really interested in findind a new venture and career

  5. I like what you are doing how can this program help people in Jamaica who had been deported from the U.S. for marijuana related crime

  6. Hello to whom it may concern I live in San Joaquin county. Are there any programs like this one in our area.

  7. This program gives hope to a nation in desperate need of direction. For too long our democracy has been held hostage to a system that perpetuates division,poverty and moral depravity. Millions of Americans incarcerated for non violent crimes at a cost of 290 billion dollars annually are at the heart of our social decline. Thank God Oakland California has taken a step away from a national norm which allows human bondage to be a trade commodity on the NYSE and leads America to be the most violent nation on earth. We’re better than that. Oakland is a shining example to the rest of America of what is possible when we work together to solve problems. When we resist the urge to punish and redirect our efforts toward correction. Well Done Oakland.

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