Social Equity Program Participants Receive Introductory Training for Entering the Adult-Use Cannabis Industry in Massachusetts

Cannabis Control Commission seminar features sessions on business planning, networking, and licensing


June 3, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891;

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) held a kick-off seminar for accepted applicants of the nation’s first statewide Social Equity Program in Worcester on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The daylong event at Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Visitors’ Center drew 17 attendees who gained insight into the state’s licensing process and regulations and honed skills for business planning and networking in the Massachusetts cannabis industry.

An additional session is scheduled later this month in Greater Boston for a second cohort of accepted Social Equity Program applicants. Interested individuals should finalize and submit their application for the program by June 6 to be considered for participation. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis through

The Commission launched the Social Equity Program in accordance with a state mandate that requires full participation in the regulated marketplace by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition. Participants who meet one or more of the following criteria were eligible to attend the Saturday kick-off and will receive additional training in the future:

• They have resided in a Commission-designated area of disproportionate impact for at least five of the past 10 years and their current income does not exceed 400% of federal poverty level; or
• They have a past drug conviction and have been a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months; or
• They have been married to, or are the child of, a person with a drug conviction and have been a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months.

Commissioners and staff led the first session with an overview of the state’s licensing process and regulations as well as a workshop on business planning. A panel of industry representatives also shared their experiences working and networking in the Massachusetts marketplace.

In the coming months, Social Equity Program participants will receive additional technical assistance, training, and mentoring from vendors who have applied to provide coaching in the following areas:

• Accounting and sales forecasting;
• Farming best practices;
• Raising funds or capital;
• Navigation of municipal processes;
• Tax prediction and legal compliance and more.

Participant-specific courses will be shaped by four teaching tracks:
• Entrepreneur (those seeking licensure and ownership);
• Core (those interested in cannabis careers at the managerial and executive level);
• Re-Entry and Entry (those seeking entry level positions in marijuana establishments, re-entering society, or entering the workforce with 0-2 years of experience); and
• Ancillary (those with existing skills directly transferable to supporting cannabis businesses).

In addition to exclusive educational opportunities, Social Equity Program participants are eligible for certain fee waivers when they apply for a marijuana establishment license.

“The Commission is dedicated to helping the individuals and families hurt most by the War on the Drugs achieve full participation in the legal adult-use industry, in accordance with state law,” Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Our first seminar demonstrated the wealth of untapped talent in Massachusetts that is working tirelessly to own, run, and support cannabis businesses. As they move forward with the Social Equity Program, we hope Saturday’s session provided a strong foundation for many more applicants to accomplish their goals.”

For more information about the program, contact the Commission’s Director of Community Outreach Shekia Scott at 617-701-8400 or, visit, or follow the Commission on Facebook and Twitter.

Accepted applicants of the Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Program participated in a seminar at Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Visitors’ Center in Worcester on Saturday. Also pictured: Cannabis Control Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins, Director of Community Outreach Shekia Scott, and Commissioner Shaleen Title.