Many social equity applicants have faced unique challenges and hardships as a result of systemic racism and discrimination, and it’s not fair to expect them to navigate the often-complicated licensing process and meet all of the necessary requirements in such a short period of time. Resources are more limited for social equity applicants creating a higher barrier to entry, and success overall, which is something that needs to be addressed. By extending the deadline, we can give these applicants the time and support they need to succeed and create a more level playing field for all.
The War on Drugs disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities, and it’s important that we take proactive steps to address these injustices and provide support to those affected.
Furthermore, supporting the extension of the provisional license deadline is in line with Governor Newsom’s commitment to cannabis equity and his efforts to address the injustices of the past. By taking this important step, Governor Newsom can demonstrate his commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in California. SB51 is a way to promote the economic empowerment of black and brown communities and increase participation in the regulated cannabis market.
As a Black dispensary owner in Los Angeles, I certainly attest to the challenges my team and our fellow social equity applicants have faced. The industry has favored rich white men and competing for licenses has not been easy. It has taken a lot of navigation, patience and hard work to get where we are today and our goal is to see our peers in the same spot – minus some of the overwhelming barriers we’ve had to face.
In conclusion, I strongly support the provisions outlined in Senate Bill 51 and urge the state of California to take the necessary step and extend the provisional license deadline for social equity cannabis retail applicants. This is a pivotal time in our state’s history and its time to right some of the wrongs caused by the vicious War on Drugs.
Kika currently serves as the Co-Founder and President of the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association (www.SEOWA.org) and the Founder and CEO of the Life DevelopmentGroup (www.lifedevelopmentgroup.org), a constellation of cannabis companies. In August 2021, Kika launched Gorilla Rx Wellness Co., the first Black woman-owned Social Equity dispensary in Los Angeles.