When MA’s firstlegal cannabis purchase occurred in 2018, there were just two licensed retail stores permitted to sell to the adult market.
Fast forward two years later, more than 80 cannabis retail stores are open in the state and have generated more than $1 billion in cannabis sales (resulting in an estimated $170 million in the state’s tax revenue).
In the several years since legalization, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has experienced a deluge of legal cannabis companies and licenses. Its cannabis commission board has structured regulations and programs revolving around equity in the state.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Cannabis Social Equity Program in Massachusetts.
Social Equity in the Commonwealth
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC)was established by the state of Massachusetts to safely and effectively implement laws and regulations regarding access to medical and adult-use cannabis in the Commonwealth.
Through informative insight and resources, the CCC is dedicated to helping encourage and enable Massachusetts residents’ full participation in the cannabis industry. This includes those who have been unjustly impacted by the criminalization and prohibition of the plant.
Additionally, it’s important to note the difference between and equality defined by the state. Equality involves equal resources and opportunities for everyone. Equity involves giving resources based on the individual needs of the recipients.
With that being said, the state and CCC have outlined multiple options/benefits of implementing a social equity program and what it could offer for each individual.
Breaking Down Massachusetts’ Social Equity Program (SEP)
For those who have been impacted by the War on Drugs and this unjust cannabis prohibition, the CCC established a Social Equity Program (SEP) to provide pathways to jobs, careers, and opportunities in the cannabis industry.
This structure of technical support from the state also includes a training program for cannabis education, skill-based training, tools to succeed in entrepreneurship, managerial-level workforce development, entry (and re-entry) level job positions, and ancillary business support.
Upon accessing these required tools and completing training, the SEP then assists individuals with registering for a cannabis license in the state.
The following are included benefits of Massachusetts’ SEP:
- Expedited license application review for individuals who maintain at least 10% of company ownership.
Free technical assistance and training through certified vendors of the CCC.
What’s more, the following application fees are waived for those involved in the state’s SEP:
- Waived seed-to-sale Metrc monthly program fees (this is specifically only the monthly fee, not fees for packaging or Metrc tag materials).
- Exclusive access to social consumption and delivery-only licensing for a minimum of up to three years. This includes a pre-certification application that offers both types of licensing.
- A 50% reduction of annual license fees, regardless of the cannabis license type.
The goal is to create a welcoming and supportive space for this community of people affected by the War on Drugs, while generating supplemental sales revenue to keep the well-oiled Massachusetts cannabis market going strong.
Supporting Social Equity with Society Cannabis Co.
In the years since legalization, Massachusetts has made it a point to handle its cannabis legislation with a priority toward equity for all.
It was known to be the only state to develop diversity and social equity programs in addition to more typical legislation, establishing a strong commitment to creating a safe space of open opportunity for everyone within the industry.
After MA’s example, more than fourteen other states have also followed suit!
At Society, we fully believe in the support from the state and CCC to provide an equitable opportunity to those who have been negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition.