Last week, the council revised how marijuana businesses will be regulated, writing legislation faster than a waitress taking orders at a crowded all-night diner. Before the revisions, half of the city’s cannabis permits were reserved for residents who were jailed on marijuana convictions in Oakland within the past decade or had lived for at least two years within six police beats in East Oakland with a high volume of marijuana arrests, convictions and jail sentences. The 1-to-1 ratio remains, but it will end once an equity assistance program, funded by cannabis tax revenue, reaches $3.4 million. […] the qualifying neighborhoods were expanded, but applicants are required to have lived in one of the neighborhoods for 10 of the past 20 years, and their current income must be below 80 percent of the city’s average median income. The new ordinance will prioritize general applicants who act as “incubators” for equity applicants by providing free rent or real estate. According to a report by Darlene Flynn, director of Oakland’s Department of Race and Equity, the disparity of pot arrest rates for blacks and whites is about as wide as the gulf between Republicans and Democrats on health care reform. “If we were to just open permitting today, we would just be maintaining those disparities into the future, if not exacerbating them,” Greg Minor, an assistant city administrator who worked on the report, told The Chronicle. Where’s the data that suggest people who fit the equity criteria are clamoring to open cannabis businesses? Because by restricting the number of general applicants and adding a residency requirement, the city is reducing the amount of tax revenue that could go into the fund to help equity applicants launch successful businesses. The bottom line is that the equity assistance program won’t be funded unless businesses are operating.

Source: Oakland making it tough to open a pot business – San Francisco Chronicle