Grow, Gift, Repair

State House News Forum Recap

Panelists from the dispensaries pushed for more opportunity for small and large businesses. Napoli suggested the state could reopen its economic empowerment certification process, which is currently only comprised of people who were able to apply within the initial two weeks of the program. She also pushed for the state to require cities and towns to issue agreements to a certain number of diversity applicants.

Cooper said Revolutionary Clinics wanted to provide funding to smaller entities in partnership with towns in which they are located, pointing to an ongoing discussion with Cambridge that eyes the creation of a local fund aimed at bolstering diversity.

“I’d suggest let the industry thrive, put together a fund not to increase (local) fees, but to come up with commonsense carrots that allow people like us who are anxious to service Cambridge customers to help economic folks,” Cooper said.

As solutions come to fruition, time may be running out. Chang-Diaz pointed out that the limited properties properly zoned for cannabis means there is an effective cap on the number of licenses available in the market.

For that reason, Hoffman said the commission was trying to be deliberate in its slow pace for handing out licenses.

But beyond finding opportunity for people within the industry, Hoffman encouraged entrepreneurs to look at opportunities in tangential industries, including accounting and legal services.

As the panel was wrapping up, one audience member stood up and asked if the state botched its chance of bolstering diversity within the industry.

Hoffman pushed back. “We’re not where we want to be right now. but let’s not declare failure with 20 stores open,” Hoffman said. “We will make this work. It will take some time. We are 20 stores into this experiment. We have a long way to go.”