A new set of regulations under consideration by the Oakland City Council seeks to provide greater opportunity and assistance to minority residents looking to establish their own cannabis businesses.
According to Brooks, the regulations are needed in order to ensure healthy competition for businesses that are likely to be lucrative.
“When we look at the eight (dispensaries), we have one that is owned by an African-American. One out of eight… [E]verybody ought to have an opportunity to compete.”
Support for cannabis businesses
“We are the last ones to get access [to permits]… We can be the help or the consumers but we never had the access. It gives us a fair shot.”
At least city lawmaker, Councilman Dan Kalb, while supportive of the bill in principle, plans to offer changes in the coming years to alter what he sees as one of the bill’s shortcomings: the relatively small number of police beats to which it applies.
Broadening the scope, he says, would increase the proposal’s fairness and would avert potential problems.
“If we don’t do that we will drive businesses underground or out of town and that helps nobody in Oakland.”
Other groups such as the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission (OCRC) –the majority of members of which oppose the measure– complain that the bill is unfair to Oakland residents who have succeeded in moving out of the city’s rougher neighborhoods and look to enter the cannabis industry. OCRC member Jake Sassaman did not hide his contempt for the measure.
“This is not equity… This is a travesty.”
Still others warn that many of the city’s most disadvantaged minorities –including black women– would be further removed from the running for inclusion in the industry.
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