Grow, Gift, Repair

Somerville could be leading the way in equity

Somerville’s Board of Aldermen on Thursday unanimously passed a dramatic equity ordinance. It stipulates that for the next two years the city will approve only existing medical dispensaries and state-certified Economic Empowerment applicants or locally-owned retailers and co-ops.

Also, those approvals must be granted on an alternating basis, and in equal proportion to each group.

What this means in practice is that Somerville medical dispensaries can’t move ahead with offering recreational pot unless an equal number of locally-owned or economic empowerment businesses also get recreational permits from the city.

“This is great news for equity,” said activist and friend-of-the-newsletter Eric Schwartz, who runs a marijuana-growing cooperative and had heavily lobbied the city to adopt the policy. “Let’s celebrate this victory in a sea of sharks and sunken ships.”