Chart: Newer marijuana markets embrace social equity programs

Increased attention by lawmakers, regulators and the general public regarding lack of diversity in the cannabis industry prompted a growing number of states to include social equity provisions in their marijuana policies.

Of the 18 states that legalized medical or recreational cannabis sales since 2016, six have taken considerable measures to boost diversity in their marijuana programs.

While that doesn’t represent a majority of markets, those that have implemented significant social equity programs are projected to grow much larger than those without.

States that legalized medical and/or adult-use cannabis since 2016 and included social equity provisions are projected to have total annual sales of $12.7 billion in 2022, compared with $4.1 billion combined for those without a social equity program.

Concerns about a lack of social equity and diversity in the cannabis industry have existed since the start of marijuana legalization.

In 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana sales, lawmakers and regulators were concerned about how legalization would impact public health and safety, and, thus, they did little to ensure the opportunities legalization created would be distributed equitably.

However, the landscape has changed significantly in just a few short years – especially on the recreational side of the industry, where every new state, except Maine, has included a social equity initiative.

Maine is still hammering out the details of its adult-use market, so a social equity provision may still be added.

Inadequate measures to address social equity, among other reasons, caused adult-use legalization bills to stall in the New Jersey and New York legislatures.

That stands in stark contrast to Illinois – the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales via the legislature – where lawmakers passed one of the most progressive marijuana business licensing frameworks in the country.

If successful, Illinois could serve as the blueprint for marijuana programs across the United States.

More data about how social equity efforts are faring across several U.S. markets and an overview of the barriers faced by women and minorities looking to enter the cannabis industry can be found in Marijuana Business Daily’s?new report,?Women & Minorities in the Cannabis Industry.

Eli McVey can?be?reached?at?[email protected]

2 comments on “Chart: Newer marijuana markets embrace social equity programs
  1. CLIFTON MIDDLETON on

    The medical marijuana progroms are the most corrupt, influence based, impossible to get in without lawyers, lobbyist and ‘friends’. The entire process is worse than illegal. The laws against marijuana are and always have been arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional. We do not need or want any administrative state involved. Let the People grow. Let the Inner City Gangs grow, they will make a lot of money and invest it in their communities. All of the regulations, testing and taxes are the cops and republicans in their passive aggressive mode, they lost but they are still mad and want to prosecute folks just the same. Am I the only guy that comments on this site?

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  2. Sal on

    It’s all a dog and pony show. There is no such thing as social equity for 99.9% percent of the people. All these programs are pretty much useless. If they want diversity, lower the ridiculous amount of regulatory costs and unneccessary crap. Open up licensing for everyone and stop Creating Monopolies.

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