The war on drugs has negatively effected millions of lives in the United States, most of which are minorities. It has been a failed policy that has impacted families across the country by wrongfully imprisoned individuals for non-violent cannabis related crimes. Now, the city of Los Angeles looks to right some of those wrongs by offering qualified individuals the opportunity to succeed in the now thriving legal cannabis industry.
The Social Equity Program in LA, through a company called Green Believers, is offering cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retail licenses, business assistance, and workforce development to individuals based upon on a three tier system. The program seeks to offer employment in the cannabis industry to level the playing field for marginalized communities that have been affected the most by the nonsensical “War on Drugs.”
Executive Director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation Cat Packer is in full support of the Social Equity Program in Los Angeles and believes that it will help heal the open wounds left by the disproportionate impact that the war on drugs has had on these communities.This hopefully will boost the economy of lower income areas in the city and provide some a path to successful careers in an exponentially growing industry.
In order to qualify for the benefits related to these programs you must apply and qualify within the three tier system.
- An income of less than $41,230 annually and you must a cannabis conviction prior to November 8, 2016 that could have been prosecuted as a misdemeanor or citation under current law or 5 years cumulative residency in a qualifying zip code. 51% ownership by the Social Equity Applicant is required.
- You would receive 1. business, licensing and compliance assistance; 2. expedited renewal processing; 3. program site specific conditions; 4. the potential for fee deferrals if the City Council adopts a fee deferral program; and 5. access to an Industry Investment Fund if established.
- Low Income and 5 years cumulative residency in a qualifying zip code or 10 years cumulative residency in a qualifying zip code. 33⅓% ownership by the Social Equity Applicant is required.
- Tier 2: 1. business, licensing and compliance assistance; 2. expedited renewal processing; and 3. program site specific conditions.
- Tier 3: Landlords who enter into a Social Equity Agreement with the City of Los Angeles to provide capital, leased space, business, licensing and compliance assistance to Tier 1 and Tier 2 applicants. These landlords are also going to provide access to property for Tier 1 Applicants rent-free with prorated utilities for 2 years (or more), provided that the property meet certain requirements.
- Tier 3: 1. expedited renewal processing; and 2. program site specific conditions.
Qualifying zip codes are: 90057, 90037, 90062, 90003, 90061, 90059, 90061, 90001, 90011, 90008, 90016, 90013, 90059, 90002, 90014, 90021, 90044, 90043, 90037, 90058, 90008, 90027, 90033.