New York is launching the nation’s most aggressive social equity program in the legal cannabis market. The Marijuana Taxation Regulation Act (MRTA), a eight-year labor of love for Majority Leader and EquityPAC founder Crystal Peoples-Stokes, provides significant opportunities for those most harmed by targeted enforcement under prohibition. The MRTA:
Automatically expunged most cannabis convictions
Aims to allocate 50% of new licenses for social equity applicants
Provides $200 million to help social equity applicants access licenses
Directs 40% of cannabis tax revenue to the NY Community Reinvestment Grant Fund to begin correcting mistakes of the past
But the hard-won victory of the MRTA is only the beginning.
Despite equity initiatives in other markets, social mobility and opportunities to build generational wealth have yet to emerge. Equity applicants own only 8% of Los Angeles cannabis businesses, and of 194 cannabis businesses in Massachusetts, just 16 belong to equity program participants.
We must ensure that those who lost the most under illegal cannabis gain the most in the new legal market. If we don’t, we are just giving this opportunity to those who already have access to wealth. EquityPAC won’t let that happen.