Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Minority Cannabis Business Association engages OSU College of Law 3L Chris Nani to evaluate social equity efforts in Los Angeles
I am always so very excited when students here at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law get so very excited about marijuana law and policy. One such student whose work I have spotlighted here is Christopher Nani, who took my marijuana seminar back in Fall 2017 and has been doing amazing work in this space ever since. In addition to getting articles published at the Cannabis Law Report discussing federal tax treatment of cannabis businesses (see prior posts here and here) and co-hosting a podcast focused on business development in the cannabis industry (called Cannabiz with Canna-Chris), Chris has produced this notable article detailing a “Model Social Equity Equation for the Cannabis Industry.”
I describe Chris’ article as notable in part because the Minority Cannabis Business Association took note of the work, and MCBA has now engaged Chris to use his equation to “score” Los Angeles. This press release, titled “MCBA Engages in Case Study to Rate Efficacy of Los Angeles’ Social Equity Program,” explains:
The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) announced plans to take a score of social equity policies implemented by the city of Los Angeles intended to increase diversity in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Partnering with the MCBA on this effort is Chris Nani, an Ohio State Law student who recently released a similar study that focused on these equity policies in three other California cities.
The results of Nani’s preliminary study had outcomes for Sacramento, San Francisco and even the much-lauded Oakland program that didn’t fully meet the intent of those policies, and underlines the necessity of reassessment once these programs have been implemented. As one of the largest markets in California, Los Angeles is an important influencer in the industry and will serve as an example for future efforts on this topic.
“We are excited to see municipalities across the country starting to implement social equity programs as a way to reinvest in communities that for decades have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs,” says Kayvan Khalatbari, MCBA’s Board Chair. “Now we need to ensure their intended outcomes are being met. If they’re not, we need to reexamine those policies and work on them until we get it right. We must develop an effective and repeatable model.”
The case study will utilize an “Equity Equation”, which provides a scored assessment to rate the effectiveness of municipal social equity programs based on 10 separate factors, all of which have been determined to play a major role in the ultimate success or failure of these policies. One factor commonly cited as a barrier to entry for people of color to find a place in the cannabis industry, regardless of policies in place, is a lack of available capital.
“Social equity programs are an important progression for the cannabis industry,” says Chris Nani. “As new markets come online and use Los Angeles as a model in their own programming, it’s critical that we understand what is working and what is not. The equation I developed is meant to grade the efficacy of these programs and offer suggestions for improvement. I look forward to working with lawmakers, social equity applicants and MCBA to work towards improving these policies across the country.”