Those convicted of marijuana-related charges, and those in neighborhoods that police have excessively targeted for drug crimes, will be given 50% of all marijuana business licenses distributed by the city.
Oakland’s city council has unanimously given approval to the Equity Permit Program. The new law mandates that half of all licenses for marijuana businesses be given to Oakland residents who have either been imprisoned for a cannabis crime in the past 10 years, or live in one of several specific neighborhoods that cops have been shown to aggressively and excessively target in an attempt to arrest drug users.
“Communities of color have been negatively and disproportionately impacted by disparate enforcement of cannabis laws,” states the ordinance’s WHEREAS section. It also notes that “individuals arrested or previously incarcerated fro cannabis related offenses face significant barriers to obtaining employment, financial aid, public housing, and other economic opportunities”.
“I believe it’s an attempt not to perpetuate some of the inequities we’ve seen here locally and also in other states,” says Greg Minor, assistant to Oakland’s city administrator.
According to Minor, the city’s application process will be revised by the end of the year..