The Boston Globe reports..
Three years after recreational marijuana sales began in Massachusetts, the department that regulates the business is asking legislators to update the state’s stagnant cannabis laws, saying reforms are urgently required to fulfill its goal.
The Cannabis Control Commission just approved unanimously to launch its first-ever coordinated lobbying campaign on Beacon Hill, in support of proposed legislation that would award low-interest loans or grants to disenfranchised businesses attempting to establish licensed marijuana businesses.
After decades of racially disproportionate drug arrests, the agency’s five commissioners, four of whom were appointed within the last year, stated that the state is failing to fulfill its legal and moral obligation to ensure equity within the legal pot business.
…Our equity applicants are being left behind, Commissioner Ava Concepcion stated at a public meeting this month….We’ll never realize the promises of equity and inclusion embodied in our state’s cannabis regulations.”
Just 16 of the 194 businesses who had successfully opened a marijuana facility were owned by participants in the commission’s equity and economic empowerment activities, which give licensing priority at the state level and provide the new business with technical assistance as of earlier this month.
Commissioners at the previous public meeting noted a lack of funding and the frequently lengthy and expensive local licensing process as the major obstacles faced those applicants. The agency previously approved reforms that would give it oversight of local fees called for in the required host community agreement contracts between cannabis companies and municipalities.