Experiences with Social Equity Programs

Hello everyone,

I’m working on a white paper on identity, power, and social responsibility in the cannabis industry and would like to gain some insights on first hand experiences with social equity programs either as a sponsor or as a social equity recipient.

While these programs generally mean well, they often miss the mark in terms of actually increasing ownership by people negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

My general thesis is that if we do not enact social equity programs properly then we run the risk of exacerbating the same inequalities we see in mainstream industries.

If you’re interested in sharing your story or any information I’m happy to do so in public or you can send me a message. I look forward to learning more about people’s experiences with social equity programs so that we can help improve their design and implementation in the future.


This is interesting. I’d be happy to lend a hand here if I can and I hope other forum members will stand up to help as well. Can you give us some examples of some existing social equity programs that have proven successful?


Hi Nick,

As far as the government social equity programs are concerned I’ve yet to see ones that avoid abuse such as highlighted here:

That being said these programs are still in their infancy and I think we are seeing the gaps and what needs to be fixed via the development of social equity incubators like Good Tree in Massachusetts and Hood Incubator in Oakland.

There is also the questions of how much these programs should offer and who should be eligible. We’ll likely see a broad spectrum across the 50 states after federal legalization driven largely by local politics, but there are certainly best practices that can and should be adopted.

Some believe that social equity programs should focus primarily on victims of the War on Drugs while others push more of the socioeconomic justice view whereby people X amount below the poverty line or average salary should be eligible. Determining which is a better option may look very different at the local level from location to location so it may be preferred to maintain some flexibility at the state level to simply empower counties or municipalities to chart their own course.

Personally I would prefer a hybrid in which those affected by the War on Drugs who are also low-income would have the most support and opportunity. But there need to be safeguards against the types of issues that Ms. Bricken raised in the article above to avoid sidelining those people who should be the real beneficiaries.


For more on Good Tree:


For more on Hood Incubator:



I participated in this past year and it opened my eyes in philly all the quality talent ! As I grow in the industry this is a valuable source I’ll utilize

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This sums it up best for me
“Equity in a regulated adult use market starts with separating licenses, providing an affordable licensing process, offering low-interest loans, and prioritizing opportunities to people historically disenfranchised and imprisoned as a result of the war on drugs.”

Crystal peoples- stokes