Zach Nieto smokes a marijuana cigarette while watching election results on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Oakland, Calif. Nieto joined about 100 supporters of legalizing marijuana outside the headquarters of the Yes on 19 campaign as early election returns showed the initiative failing. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

What are Oakland’s proposed ‘equity permits,’ and will they be a game-changer?

The California city has approved laws that could help Latino and black-owned pot businesses, but a Cannabist columnist and founder of a vape pen company disagree on whether it's the right move

The Oakland City Council in California is considering so-called “equity permits,” which would allow, and even encourage, those with cannabis convictions to own marijuana businesses.

Is this a good thing?

Cannabist columnist Susan Squibb says “it’s a very good step, in the right direction.” But Bloom Farms founder Mike Ray, whose company is based in California, says he agrees and disagrees with Squibb. “I think it was well intentioned, but I think the plan is flawed, and basically allows for six districts — I don’t know if it’s exactly six — of sixty different police beats to decide on who gets 50 percent of the cannabis permits. I don’t think that makes sense at all.”

“Who makes up these districts and who decides? It doesn’t create a level playing field for the rest of Oakland,” he adds.

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