By Demetrius Harrison

Originally published by San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

In California, on November 8, 2016, Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). received a resounding “ves’ from the people. It marked the beginning of a vision to regulate cannabis, breaking down barriers to entry into legal markets.

The California Social Equity Program promotes equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry, helping marginalized communities and individuals disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.

Through the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), equity business owners receive support through waived license fees and technical guidance.

San Diego, a recent star in this narrative, received an $880,000 state grant from the Governor of California’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). This grant is part of a broader program designed to level the playing field in the local cannabis industry. Its aim? To uplift those who’ve been battered by the war on drugs, to usher them into the folds of the legal cannabis industry.

This is about justice, equitable opportunity, and making legal cannabis accessible to patients in marginalized communities. Behind this fight for equity are the members of the San Diego City Council President Pro-tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and the San Diego Diversity Cannabis group, which includes individuals with cannabis-related convictions, community leaders, patient advocates, and social justice warriors. They’ve been at the forefront, ensuring this program serves those most impacted by the failed war on drugs.

‘This is a movement, resonating not just in California but also in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Michigan. Vermont. Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona, and Virginia.

It’s about healing, inclusivity, and justice. San Diego’s Cannabis Social Equity Program represents a significant step towards righting past wrongs and building a fairer future.

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Formerly incarcerated, Demetrius Harrison is a lifelong San Diego resident who now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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