Weed is legal in Oakland now, but it wasn’t always, and there are many residents who have charges due to the popular (and harmless) drug.

Back in May, Oakland City Council began plans to help boost their legal medical cannabis industry, which is projected to grow into a $40 billion industry in the U.S. by 2020. One of the proposals was that people who have been locked up for a weed-related charge – who are currently ineligible to have a legal license to sell weed because of their felonies – would not only be eligible, but moved to the TOP of the eligibility list as well. AKA, they’d be made a priority to approve first, as reparations for their previous charges.

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The city of Oakland has now rolled out their Equity Permit Program, where residents living within the vicinity of select police beats, or drug sellers convicted within the past ten years, can apply for “equity permits.” These permits prioritize them for cannabis businesses that are majority owned by “drug war victims.”

“Oakland is the first jurisdiction in the world to recognize the disproportionate harms of cannabis prohibition by building it into their regulations,” says Amanda Reiman, the marijuana law and policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “There is a wide recognition of these disparities, but Oakland is the first to take on institutionalizing a response.”

Source: Leafly