Oaklanders Previously Caught for Marijuana Possession Will Be First in Line for Cannabis Permits

Katherine DeMetre | Infocast Events

Oaklanders who were previously incarcerated for marijuana possession in the last decade will be the first to receive legal cannabis permits under the Equity Permit Program.

According to East Bay Express, the City Council passed the Equity Permit Program, an initiative designed to make amends with those affected by the statewide cannabis prohibition, on May 17, 2016.

The City Council was presented with a 2016 analysis of data between 1995 and 2015 found high drug arrests in Oakland, even when medicinal marijuana came into play. The Council voted unanimously for the program.

The program is currently being revised during the implementation stage of recreational marijuana in the state.

Major changes approved on Mar. 8 refined who is eligible for the permit. In addition to the Oakland residents previously incarcerated for cannabis crimes, the permits will also be available to residents that lived at least 10 years in police beats. Their income must also be below 80 percent of the city’s average median income, according to The Mercury News.

The city is also designating $3.4 million in cannabis business license tax revenue as well as $200,000 to hire a consultant tto help Oaklanders on the Equity program open their businesses.

While most public speakers were in support of the program, some fear last-minute changes could affect existing cannabis businesses. Councilman Noel Gallo added an amendment that required general permit applicants to have lived in Oakland for at least three years.

Sascha Stallword, co-founder of Kamala Cannabis Edibles, told The Mercury News that she moved her family out to Oakland from Los Angeles last year and was planning to get started with her business.

“If I end up with a five-year lease in a place I can’t operate out of, that doesn’t work for anyone,” Stallworth said. “This is a break in our road which we didn’t anticipate.”

There is a risk that the amendment could deter businesses away from Oakland and thus lead to less funding for the program.

With a recent revision made just in Mar., perhaps more evaluations will be made as Proposition 64 rolls out in California.

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