The Equity Program In Oakland Isn’t Getting Guidance


Alphonso Blunt, the 38-year-old owner of a 4,000-square-foot store selling flowers, vapes, and edibles, claims selling cannabis illegally was easier than going legit.

The truth of the matter is that even if a person gets a permit to sell cannabis legally, they’ll still have to write up a business plan, acquire real estate, follow compliance guidelines and finance the entirety of their operations. With these complications associated with running a cannabis dispensary, it’s easy to see why this cannabis veteran claims the black market is the easy way to go.

After establishing an equity program in Oakland, those who were impacted by the War on Drugs were given new opportunities. This program requires applications to be residents of Oakland earning less than 80 percent of the city’s average income. They also need to have lived in a high-crime zone for a minimum of 10 out of the last 20 years. People who had been convicted of a cannabis crime in Oakland following Nov. 5, 1996 also qualify.

Blunt claims he and his partner did not receive a lot of guidance from the city. He states, “They didn’t give us any information, any instructions on what to do. It sucks that the equity program is getting a bad rap. It’s not a bad program. It just needs better education. And money.” He highlights the fact that the city has made going legal difficult, but not impossible.


Do you believe that legalization in California could be handled better? How so?

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