Denver, CO — Today, at Simply Pure, a marijuana dispensary, Governor Jared Polis signed into law a bill that increases access to the Social Equity license, which makes owning and operating a retail marijuana store accessible to more Coloradans. The bill is sponsored by Representative James Coleman.
“All hardworking Coloradans deserve a fair shot at sharing in the prosperity of the booming marijuana industry,” said Rep. Coleman, D-Denver. “This bill will help overcome decades of inequity in an industry where black people have been criminalized and others have been able to make profits. We should not be defined by our past alone, and this bill provides Coloradans who want to make an honest living in the marijuana industry with the opportunity to do so. Creating equal economic opportunity for all makes us stronger. ”
“Colorado has led the way for the nation’s fast-changing laws and attitudes towards marijuana,” said Rep. Singer, D-Longmont. “By allowing the Governor to pardon individuals with small possession offenses and improving access and equity in the booming marijuana industry, this bill moves our state boldly forward. The bill signed today is good for small businesses, hardworking Coloradans, and our state’s economy as a whole.”
In order to drive socioeconomic equity to the retail marijuana trade, HB20-1424 establishes that applicants for a marijuana license cannot be denied access based on a marijuana conviction if they qualify as a social equity applicant. The bill also allows the governor to pardon individuals who were convicted of possession of marijuana for up to two ounces — effectively offering these Coloradans a clean slate. In order to be eligible for the Social Equity license, applicants must be a Colorado resident and one of the following regulations must apply.
Applicants must have either: resided in Colorado for 15 years, have been arrested or convicted of a marijuana offense, or have a household income that did not exceed a predetermined amount. Marijuana retailers who have a Social Equity license are eligible for the Accelerator Program, which authorizes stores with a Social Equity license to operate under established state laws as long as they are endorsed by an Accelerator Store.