Social Equity Program Opening More Cannabis Shops
In the next few months, Long Beach might offer eight new licenses for retail cannabis shops in neighborhoods that were affected by the war on drugs the most.
Namely, Long Beach is going through potential changes regarding its Cannabis Social Equity Program. The Program is meant to help people with low incomes who were arrested or had minor cannabis offenses in the past have some financial benefits thanks to marijuana legalization.
On Tuesday, March 16, the City Council voted unanimously and decided to include the new proposal in an ongoing change.
The Program first started in 2018, but only 1 out of 79 applicants managed to go through the process and receive the license. As a result, the City Council said that they were trying to find a way to make the Program more effective.
At the recent meeting, Al Austin, a councilman from the Eighth District, said that no one that’s part of the Long Beach Cannabis Social Equity Program owns a retail cannabis storefront, and he hopes that this changes in the future.
Moreover, he claimed that there was a glaring flaw in the equity program and that they could do a much better job than that, to which the other council members agreed, and some even added their own suggestions as well.
Vice Mayor Rex Richardson suggested opening the new storefronts in the cones of economic empowerment and giving the profit back to the city and its youth.
Richardson also stated that it was a shame that cannabis dollars were not being reinvested back into the city and its youth.
Al Austin hopes that changes will come as soon as possible. “Equity delayed is equity denied,” he said.