Equity Programs

The Commission is committed to implementing a variety of programs to actively engage people from communities of disproportionate impact and ensure their inclusion in the legal cannabis industry.

Many programs were developed in response to evidence which demonstrates that certain geographic areas and demographic populations, particularly Blacks and Latinos, have been disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for cannabis and other drug crimes as a result of state and federal drug policy. Criminalization has had long-term negative effects, not only on the individuals arrested and incarcerated, but on their families and communities.

We now have the opportunity to redress the historic harm done to those specific individuals and communities.

To learn how you can partner with the Commission in its efforts, please find more information on our equity programs below or contact Shekia Scott, Director of Community Outreach.

What is Equity?

Equity is the recognition and accommodation of differences through fairness in process and result to prevent the continuation of an inequitable status quo.

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Social Equity Program

Letter to Potential Applicants

The application to receive professional training, technical assistance and mentoring through the Social Equity Program will be available this fall. Please sign up for our social equity news list to receive updates as the program progresses .

The Social Equity Program is designed to build a pathway for individuals and businesses that wish to build, enter, and support a robust adult-use cannabis marketplace regardless of their desired level of involvement or area of specialty. The two-phase program focuses on those most affected by marijuana prohibition and helps applicants discover how they can contribute to the newly legalized industry. The mission of the program is to encourage full participation by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities by decreasing the disparities in life outcomes for these individuals and improving the quality of life in areas of disproportionate impact.

• Reduce barriers to entry in the commercial cannabis industry;
• Provide professional, technical services, and mentoring for those facing systemic barriers; and
• Promote sustainable, socially, and economically reparative practices in the commercial adult-use marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

Phase one: Request for Qualifications – Application and selection process for those looking to develop face-to-face and on-demand curriculum as well as professional training, technical services, and mentoring in various areas of expertise for the Social Equity Program.

Phase two: Social Equity Program Application – Application and selection process for those who meet program criteria and are looking to receive professional training, technical assistance, and mentoring.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this portion of the program, individuals must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Have resided in an area of disproportionate impact for at least five of the past 10 years and current income may not exceed 400% of federal poverty level; or
• Have a past drug conviction and a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months; or
• Have been married to or the child of a person with a drug conviction, and a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months.

Economic Empowerment

Sorry, the Economic Empowerment Priority Review Program has ended! Please review or apply to our other social equity programs.

The Economic Empowerment Priority Review application period was 4/2/18 – 4/16/18. The Commission granted priority review status to 123 applicants who met the criteria. A subset of the applicants will be eligible for the Social Equity Program regardless of their priority status. Applicants can check their priority status on our public documents page and join our social equity news list for more information on our equity provisions.

If you applied for Economic Empowerment Priority Review and you need help, you can call the Cannabis Control Commission at 617-701-8400 or email us at CannabisCommission@State.MA.US

Equity Provisions & Resources