WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee <https://thecannabisindustry.org/committees/diversity-equity-inclusion-committee-deic/D> (DEIC) despatched a letter to authorities officers and regulators in Illinois with analyses and suggestions for enhancing the state’s hashish dispensary social fairness licensing program. When Illinois turned the primary state to control hashish by way of its legislature and embody a statewide social fairness program for the hashish trade within the laws, advocates had been hopeful that the state would turn into a mannequin for improved illustration. After the preliminary outcomes of the primary social fairness dispensary utility interval had been introduced, nevertheless, this system has obtained backlash over lack of transparency, failures within the choice course of that favor closely funded multi-state operators, the extraordinarily restricted quantity of firms that had been chosen for the ultimate lottery, and the last word lack of illustration achieved.

“In response to the recent results of the Illinois Adult Use Dispensary application process, we present our findings and recommendations in the interest of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Illinois cannabis industry,” the letter reads. “To address disparities in the initial results of the process, we believe we must first acknowledge the process was flawed and that the results do not reflect the intent of lawmakers. While well meaning and intentioned, the results have been widely criticized in their limited ability to be inclusive and to truly generate opportunities for restorative justice and economic empowerment for people most harmed by prohibition.”

It goes on to elaborate on a quantity of critiques about this system, and suggests a number of methods to enhance the system and guarantee legislative intent, together with however not restricted to: full transparency of the scoring system, methodology, and actions utilized by the federal government’s outdoors contractor, KPMG, within the utility course of; nearer scrutiny of working agreements to keep away from predatory partnerships; and altering the grading rubric to keep away from limiting these eligible for the lottery to candidates with good scores.

The full letter and evaluation might be learn right here: https://cdn.thecannabisindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/DEIC-Illinois-Social-Equity-Licensing-Letter-November-2020.pdf.

Gov. Pritzker, who has touted Illinois as a pacesetter in hashish regulation and social fairness, has directed the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to reexamine the applying course of, hear appeals, and rescore candidates earlier than permitting licensing to proceed. In early November, an Illinois courtroom rejected a request for a restraining order filed by the preliminary finalists to stop rescoring the opposite purposes.

“We know from lessons learned in other markets like Los Angeles that the process must reflect the intention and not further highlight the systemic structural barriers to entry that favor the monied,” mentioned Yarrow Kubrin, founder of Special Teams Consulting and Folsom Forge and vice-chair of the DEIC. “Further, we as a people expect taxpayer money to include a level of accountability with respect to the state’s actions and services provided to it by outside contractors. If the state doesn’t hold itself and its contractors accountable, how can it expect an entire industry to be accountable? We have waited years for effective state-level social equity programs, and doing it better is not something that should be kicked down the road or merely applied to subsequent application processes. As a verified social equity applicant myself and member of a committee and industry group committed to improving opportunities in cannabis, I add my voice to the growing chorus demanding a better process for the betterment of the industry and society.”

“My grandfather and I worked together to put forth an application we are proud of. With the time, resources, and energy we and many others have invested in this process, all we are asking is to receive a fair chance,” mentioned Grant Richardson, co-founder of the Illinois Cannabis Training Center and member of the DEIC. “The intent for genuine social equity in Illinois is there, but execution fell short in this first year of legalization. I believe Illinois will be the leader of cannabis equity in the US. These recommendations are an expression of the DEIC’s commitment to help us achieve that vision.”

About National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the biggest hashish commerce affiliation within the U.S. and the one group broadly representing cannabis-related companies on the nationwide stage. NCIA promotes the expansion of a accountable and bonafide hashish trade and works towards a good social, financial, and authorized setting for that trade within the United States. https://thecannabisindustry.org/

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