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San Diego’s Social Equity Proposal Could Provide Needed Fixes

San Diego’s proposal to establish a social equity program would present eligibility criteria that would help participants find locations, get financing, and get critical mentorship from existing members of the cannabis industry.

A revolving credit fund with $5 million of city cannabis tax revenue would be created. That probably won’t be an issue, as San Diego recorded over $24 million in cannabis tax revenue that was collected during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Only people who fulfill these criteria are eligible

  • A person applying must be convicted, or have a relative convicted, of cannabis crimes after January 1, 1994 in San Diego.
  • Applicants must have been a resident of Barrio Linda, Linda Vista or San Ysidro for at least 5 years.

Two additional criteria must be fulfilled by the applicants.

  • A household income below 80% of area median income.
  • After 1994, San Diego lost its housing through foreclosures or evictions.
  • Between 1971 and 2016, at least 5 years of school attendance in San Diego Unified Schools District.
  • You can be placed in foster care at any point between 1971-2016

“We’re no longer talking in abstractions,” Kim Desmond, Chief of Race and Equity for the City of San Diego, told San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s an industry that is riddled with racial disparities.”

Bruce Mayberry is the chief executive of San Diego Central Black Chamber of Commerce. He also echoed the statements.

“If you look at the number of African-Americans that were incarcerated and had their lives turned upside down when cannabis was illegal, and now you look at the number of African-Americans that are benefitting from cannabis now that it’s legal, you can make an argument that another crime is being committed,” Mayberry said.

San Diego’s Equity Problems

Already, the problems facing San Diego and its county have been identified.

On July 7, the City of San Diego released the Draft Cannabis Equity Report, detailing how Black and Latino people make up about 50% of total cannabis arrests since 2015, despite representing only 29% of San Diego’s population.

Ownership misrepresentation problems represent another facet of the problem: The study found that in San Diego County, 68% of cannabis business license holders are white, while white people make up 44% of the county’s overall population.

Latinos make up 34% of the overall population—yet hold only 14% of cannabis business licenses. Blacks account for 5.6% of county residents and are responsible for about 7% cannabis licenses.

A significant gap was also discovered between women and men business owners.

San Diego’s proposal for a cannabis equity program will receive its next hearing in City Council on Sept. 20. In order to comply with a deadline set by the state for next rounds of cannabis equity financing, this must be passed before October 20th. San Diego Union Tribune.

Voice of San DiegoAccording to reports, cannabis distribution, manufacture, and sales are still prohibited in unincorporated areas. However, a countywide ordinance will likely include a provision for social equity. That ordinance could roll out next year with a vote from the county’s Board of Supervisors.