In California, the local city government entity responsible for licensing cannabis dispensaries designs its social equity program and the qualification criteria for a social equity applicant. Los Angeles cannabis authorities recently introduced one of the most significant and impactful regulatory amendments limiting cannabis retail and delivery opportunities to only social equity applicants until Jan. 1, 2025. They have also redefined disproportionately impacted areas and have included about 150 police reporting districts historically impacted by cannabis arrests. The revised eligibility criteria will allow people to participate in the social equity program if they meet any two of the following conditions:

  • If they categorize as low income.
  • If they were arrested or convicted due to cannabis prohibition in the past.
  • If they live in the newly defined disproportionately impacted areas.

Authorities in L.A. have also expanded the definition of equity share in businesses co-owned by social equity licensees to ensure that they have the required profits, voting rights, and adequate control of the business. The new definition prohibits the divestment of any part of the social equity owner’s requisite equity share under any circumstances, allowing for unconditional ownership. To learn more about social equity ordinances in your district, check out the website of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control.