A group representing Massachusetts social equity applicants has launched a petition urging regulators to repeal recent changes to the state’s Economic Empowerment Program which set the ownership threshold for such applicants to just 10 percent.
Previously, the requirement was 51 percent.
The Urban Cannabis Grow Op Association says they have “deep concerns and reservations” over the rule change and that the 10 percent equity stake requirement “feels like a race to the bottom.”
“In the short time since this policy change has been made, some of us have received calls indicating that investors are now tearing up previous contracts they had with economic empowerment applicants and social equity applicants prior to this regulatory change.” – Urban Cannabis Grow Op Association in their Change.org petition.
The group says the change “watered down” the program and misrepresents what it originally promised, calling the changes “an affront and insult” to members’ integrity “and to that part of the [economic empowerment] concept.”
Moreover, the organization says the rule change is “in direct conflict” with some city and town ordinances, such as Boston which requires 51 percent ownership for social equity applicants seeking a cannabis industry license.
“This policy change by the [Cannabis Control Commission] has unilaterally compromised our ability to negotiate a fair deal, because this has greatly lowered the floor of our ownership/equity discussions, which is the exact opposite of empowering,” the group says on the petition site. “A 10 percent stake in a company is where ownership and control are expected to be less than dignified for a community that has paid tremendously and still pays in countless ways.”
In addition to pushing for a rollback of the rule, the group wants the CCC to explain why the change was made, what data was used to make the change and how that data was acquired, why there were no public hearings about the change and why the people most affected by it were not consulted, and what plans the CCC has for ensuring transparency if they change the rule back.
As of this morning, the petition had nearly half of the 500-signature goal. The petition was created on May 4.