Massachusetts’ new cannabis fairness law is being praised by advocates who say it will help lower barriers to entry for cannabis business owners from marginalized communities and foster greater equity in the state’s multibillion-dollar industry.
The legislation signed this week by Governor Charlie Baker has a few key components. It would establish an equity trust fund funded by a 15% recreational marijuana tax, restrict cities and towns from overpaying marijuana businesses within their borders, and allow cities and towns to pave the way for social consumption sites. To ask voters if they want to through poll questions.
The new law will encourage people from disenfranchised communities in cities and towns to approve marijuana businesses, making it easier for people who once faced criminal convictions to expunge their records for possession and distribution, Axios reports. State tax code change To allow marijuana business owners to enjoy some of the same tax benefits as other businesses.
Business owners point to financing as one of the biggest hurdles in the growing industry. It is very expensive and excludes those who lack capital or investors with a high tolerance for risk. That’s where the trust fund can help.
“If you don’t have a bank, there’s no way small businesses like ours can open their doors without going to investors,” said Armani White, a Roxbury activist and marijuana business owner looking to break ground on a Hyde Park retail facility soon. “This will allow us to not rely on that and be in a better financial position.”
Advocates have been working to regularize many of the bill’s provisions and increase votes for years. White works with unprofitable combinations Current fair opportunities (The organization’s acronym EON is a tribute to their years of advocacy). In the year In 2020, EON was successful in acquiring two of the state’s cannabis plants at the time. The commissioners advocate publicly for the creation of a loan fund To help them become business owners.
Shanelle Lindsay, founder and CEO of local biotech and medical cannabis device company Ardent, combined her own income with her mother’s retirement nest egg to start her business.
“A lot of good ideas aren’t happening because there’s not the formal space and support that other startups get,” he says of the usual struggle for funding. “Cannabis is taxed very heavily here. What we can do is take some of that money and put it into the communities that are most affected and make sure that this is not just a false promise of justice.
Looking forward, Lindsay said transparency will be critical in implementing the new law, especially in the distribution of funds.
Baker criticized one provision of the bulk bill — a potential study of pediatric marijuana users who smoke in schools.