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US (MN): Governor supports changes to recreational cannabis law to strengthen social equity

Gov. Tim Walz said he supports proposals by the state’s cannabis management office to increase advantages to what are termed “social equity applicants” in the fledgling legal cannabis marketplace.

The Office of Cannabis Management said last week it would ask the Legislature to amend the 2023 recreational cannabis law to make it easier for people and neighborhoods who suffered most from prohibition to get into the business. For example, such applicants for licenses to grow and sell cannabis could get temporary licenses ahead of others seeking permission to build grow operations or sell cannabis. And the state could allow social-equity applicants to have investors who do not qualify as disadvantaged suitors as long as at least 65% of the capital comes from qualified people (the current law says 100%).

But contrary to some readings of the proposal, OCM is not proposing that social equity retail license holders be allowed to open dispensaries sooner than other applicants, perhaps as early as this fall.

“Philosophically our goal is to make sure the equity piece was a big part of this,” Walz said in an interview. “We certainly want to stay in the parameters of the law of who we can give help to. But I think the idea was, too often marginalized communities are left to the side. They’re left back.”

Read more at: www.minnpost.com

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