In California, officials with the city of Oakland have been working for more than a year to create and implement the city’s Dispensary Equity Permit Program, and with the winners of Oakland dispensary licenses having been announced, the fruits of their labor are being realized.
On Jan. 31, 2018, Oakland held a public lottery to select four applicants out of 46 for the four dispensary licenses made available specifically to equity applicants, with Alphonso T. Blunt Jr., Marshall Crosby, Rickey McCullough and Zhongzhang Yan winning the lottery.
“I’m uber excited. Praise Yahweh. Hallelujah,” Blunt said, as reported by SFGate. “This is a long time coming. I’ve been trying to get a club since 2001.”
Beyond the four Oakland dispensary licenses awarded to equity applicants, Oakland also announced the recipients of the four additional dispensary licenses that were allocated for both equity and non-equity applicants, with Kanna, Inc., Have a Heart, Ron Leggett and Three Turkeys Management, LLC, being selected through a competitive scoring process.
Of these four licenses, three of four are Oakland-owned businesses and two are equity-owned; plus, 90% of those employed by these four licensees will be residents of Oakland and 50% will be Oakland residents who were formerly incarcerated. They will also source 50% of their products from equity-owned businesses. Additionally, these four licensees will provide a total of 29 equity-owned businesses with free rent and security for three years.
Oakland’s history of racial disparity in cannabis enforcement was the impetus behind the city’s cannabis equity program for supply chain licenses.
“The data show that for over two decades, black and brown residents were arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses at disparately high rates, while largely white cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors, who were not operating entirely above board either, flourished under changing laws designed to accommodate the burgeoning industry,” said Darlene Flynn, City of Oakland Race and Equity Director, in a press release.
The eight winners of Oakland dispensary licenses now have 90 days to name their dispensary locations and undergo public hearings before being allowed to open. Once open, the eight licensees will join an Oakland dispensary community that already has eight existing dispensaries in operation, including Harborside Health Center, Purple Heart Patient Center, Oakland Organics, Blum, Magnolia Wellness, Phytologie, Telegraph Health Center and Oakland Community Partners.
In regards to cannabis licenses for the rest of the supply chain, Oakland is processing over 600 applications from prospective cultivators, manufacturers, delivery services, distributers, labs and transporters, with equity applications representing more than half of the applications submitted to date.