Spring 2020 Journal: Engineering Equity in Oakland’s Cannabis Market

This article is the first article featured in our Spring 2020 journal. For the complete journal, please see the “Journal Archive” tab above.

by Aly Bonde

Edited by: Nick Draper, Emily Estus, Samuel Glaser-Nolan, and Nandita Sampath

Oakland’s Cannabis Equity Program is a national model for cities attempting to ensure that some of the beneficiaries of legalizing cannabis come from the communities of color that are disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs. Without policy intervention, most cannabis businesses, in states with legal recreational use, are white-owned and operated by wealthy individuals with pre-existing access to capital. Meanwhile, the costs of entering the market are often prohibitively high for low-income individuals and people of color. This article provides an overview of the political, administrative, and regulatory path Oakland took to actualize the Cannabis Equity Program and highlights its strengths and weaknesses. It also makes recommendations for how Oakland can adjust the Program and other city statutes to continue centering on equity in this field.

In 2017, Oakland designed and implemented the Cannabis Equity Program, aimed at giving people of color victimized by the War on Drugs a fair chance of benefiting from the newly legalized recreational cannabis market. The result was a national movement for cannabis equity and a reputation for Oakland as an innovative policy originator. Like many cities, Oakland has a history of racial disparities in policing, particularly surrounding arrests for cannabis activity. At the outset of the Green Rush, City of Oakland leaders attempted to design a cannabis economy that could rectify this difficult racial history through equity-based policy, understanding that equity is fundamentally different from race-neutral equality. As the Oakland Department of Race and Equity explains, “Equity is fairness. Equity means all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential. Equality focuses on giving everyone the same thing, regardless of outcomes.”

Oakland worked to design a system that gave priority to businesses owned by victims of the War on Drugs and other businesses that would incubate them. Oakland’s cannabis equity program has succeeded in increasing the number of cannabis entrepreneurs of color who had access to the booming new market. However, the limitations all cities face in assisting small businesses along with generations of structural racism have combined to limit successful outcomes for equity businesses. The City of Oakland is now faced with the question of how to continue centering equity in the cannabis economy once the initial permitting phase has finished.

Oakland’s History with Cannabis Activity

Oakland has been a national leader in creating systems that help cannabis businesses thrive. In 2004, when only medical cannabis was legal at the state level, Oakland became the first city in the U.S. to create a system to regulate and tax medical cannabis businesses. As a result, medical cannabis dispensaries found great success in Oakland, which became widely regarded as the most medical cannabis-friendly local jurisdiction in America. During the Great Recession, Oakland leaned on these cannabis businesses for revenue and passed a ballot measure to double their taxes to five percent of gross receipts.

Unfortunately, the gains from the medical cannabis boom were not equally shared. Throughout this period, parallel models of law enforcement in Oakland evolved for the same substance — one track being a hands-off approach to the largely white-owned medical cannabis businesses and the other an active enforcement model for informal, non-permitted recreational cannabis entrepreneurs. Prior to Oakland’s recreational cannabis boom, the increased penalties and enforcement of minor drug crimes of the War on Drugs hit Oakland’s African American and Latinx communities disproportionately hard. African Americans have comprised between one quarter and one half of Oakland’s population since the first half of the 20th century, but represent the vast majority of cannabis-related arrests from 1995 to 2015 as shown by Figure 1.[1] Studies have widely established that this is not because of increased use or sale of cannabis in communities of color but is instead the result of an enormous disparity in the rates of arrest.[2]

Meanwhile, the semi-legalized and predominantly white-owned medical cannabis businesses began openly operating in Oakland after state legalization of medical cannabis in 1996. Medical cannabis dispensaries (brick and mortar retail), cultivation centers, and distribution business models flourished with little interference from the Oakland Police Department, although the businesses did clash with federal law enforcement at times.

Designing a New Economy

In the spring of 2016, it appeared increasingly likely that California voters would legalize recreational cannabis sales via a ballot measure in the November election, similar to Oregon, Colorado and other states in previous years. Not wanting to give up its competitive advantage as a cannabis hub, Oakland began developing its recreational cannabis permitting system to prepare for the measure’s set legalization date of January 1, 2018. Businesses were required to have their local permits in place in order to qualify for state permission to sell recreational cannabis. Businesses who were able to get out of the starting gate first on that day were at a considerable advantage in the new boom economy. However, city leaders were grappling with the problem that too few of the individuals poised to benefit from the anticipated surge in legalized cannabis profits were from the communities of color that had been disproportionately negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

At the same time, the City of Oakland’s administrative departments, City Council, and Mayor’s Office were in the first stages of attempting an institutional culture shift toward placing greater weight on equity and inclusion of historically marginalized communities. In 2015, the Council voted to create the nation’s second Department of Race and Equity (following Portland) and tasked it with analyzing policies and systems through a racial equity lens. The cannabis permitting system would prove to be the department’s first major assignment.

The initial “business as usual” proposal for the permit system was developed by an advisory body to the Council comprised mostly of citizens with ties to the existing industry called the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. This proposal came to the Council in early 2016, but it clashed with the Council’s stated goal of embedding equity in its future policies. East Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks proposed an amendment to reserve half of all new recreational cannabis business permits for residents from six of Oakland’s 54 police beats or for those with a previous cannabis arrest in Oakland. They would be termed “equity applicants” as opposed to all other “general applicants.” The six police beats were largely in Councilmember Brooks’ district and had been heavily impacted by the War on Drugs. “Oakland is really fortunate to have the political will and Councilmember Brooks was the catalyst by far,” Assistant to the City Administrator Greg Minor said in an interview.[3] “Not that Oakland is perfect but the later an equity framework is added, the harder it is.”

The proposal angered some existing cannabis businesses and would-be entrepreneurs of all races and ethnicities that would not qualify due to its narrow scope. The policy excluded the entirety of West Oakland and other areas of East Oakland that had also suffered from high racial disparities in cannabis arrest rates. The Brooks amendment passed in May 2016 with the promise from some council members to bring additional changes at a later date to amend the equity program. This set the stage for one of Oakland’s ugliest debates in years as leaders grappled with how to bake equity into a changing economy.

Most Oakland elected officials and city staff were supportive of the general idea of an equity program but felt the specifics needed to be fine tuned. Existing business owners felt betrayed by a city that encouraged them to start medical cannabis businesses but then threatened to restrict their potential access to the recreational market, effectively killing their business. They lobbied heavily against the equity permit system as it was first proposed. Cannabis entrepreneurs of color who didn’t meet the restrictions to qualify as an equity applicant also felt betrayed by the narrow scope of the equity program.

In response to the push to weaken the equity program, some council members countered with increasingly punitive amendments targeted at existing cannabis businesses, including a 25 percent tax on all profits and entitling the city to a seat on their Board of Directors. A proposal was floated to charge $10,000 per day fines and charge back-taxes on existing cannabis businesses, yet it was quickly withdrawn. The chaos that ensued threatened to derail the issuance of both equity and general permits and set back all businesses as state deadlines for local implementation loomed. After many heated council meetings, the City Council voted in November 2016 to refer the question of how best to implement a cannabis equity system to the newly created Department of Race and Equity and Assistant City Administrator Greg Minor in an effort to task them with finding the best path forward.

Figure 1: Oakland Cannabis Arrests from 1995-2015

Minor and Department of Race and Equity Director Darlene Flynn returned to Council in February 2017 with recommendations and the racial disparity analysis of arrest data outlined in Figure 1. In an interview, Flynn stressed the importance of process, data, and narrative when it comes to crafting policies through an equity lens, saying “You’re trying to disrupt the status quo. It’s not an easy thing to do so you need all the ammunition you can get.”[4] Flynn’s data showed that in 2015, the most recent year on record, Latinx and African Americans made up a combined 92 percent of cannabis arrests, despite making up only 60 percent of the population. “The initial ordinance was not supported by a racial equity analysis so as soon as it passed there were attempts to undermine it,” Minor said. “Once you laid out the data people couldn’t dispute the recommendations.” Flynn recommended creating a permit system that increased access to opportunities for communities victimized by the War on Drugs. “The data shows that for over two decades, black and brown residents were arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses at disparately high rates, while largely white cannabis cultivators, manufacturers and distributors—who were not operating entirely above board either—flourished under changing laws designed to accommodate the burgeoning industry,” Flynn told the City Council at its March 7, 2017 meeting.[5]

Later that March, the Council finally passed what a majority saw as the most reasonable compromise despite continued heated debate between those who wanted to expand the equity program against those who wanted to keep it narrow. The City decided it would award permits to equity applicants and general applicants on a 1:1 ratio. An equity applicant must have been either 1) arrested after November 5, 1996 and convicted of a cannabis crime committed in Oakland, or 2) have lived in any of the 21 police beats in East and West Oakland with the highest number of cannabis-related arrests. They must also earn less than 80 percent of the city’s Area Median Income (AMI). The first $3.4 million in cannabis tax revenue was set to go into a revolving loan fund to support equity businesses. After that funding level was met, the 1:1 permit ratio requirement would be lifted. General applicants could gain priority by “incubating” an equity applicant with 1,000 sq.ft. of free space. The $3.4 million funding level was met within the first six months of collecting taxes, with a total of $13.7 million in cannabis tax revenue received in the first year of adult-use legalization.[6]

Addressing Implementation Challenges

Following the arduous political process to create the cannabis equity program, the program faced many basic capacity challenges and city staff found it far more complicated to administer than what the Cannabis Regulatory Commission had originally conceived of. City staff had never administered a program with so many documentation requirements before: equity applicants were required to submit 20 years of residency, income, and arrest records in addition to standard business records required of general applicants. These documents were not only cumbersome for staff to process but in many cases complicated for applicants to submit. Furthermore, staff had never attempted to process permits for an entire industry sector at once. When city staff began accepting applications in May 2017 the volume and complexity of the permits were staggering. The state required cannabis businesses  to be locally licensed by January 1, 2018. Otherwise, the state would not allow them to operate. Permitting and inspection delays – particularly in the Fire and Building Departments – caused concern and confusion among applicants while they fought for investment capital and space to lease amidst great uncertainty. Eventually the state allowed temporary authorizations from local governments to suffice, which gave Oakland’s cannabis sector the chance to get back on track. “The local authorization avoided some of the issues by allowing people to operate without formal permits as long as there are no life safety issues,” Minor said.

However, two years later, many brick and mortar businesses are still operating with only their temporary license due to the complex interdepartmental permitting process created by the city. In a recent survey, equity applicants ranked city approvals among the top three barriers to their business along with slow build-outs and establishing banking services.[7] The City of Oakland’s bureaucratic culture also posed challenges. Oakland has previously struggled with implementation of complex policies, and its workforce was hit hard with layoffs during the recession. The city administration faced almost constant turnover in leadership as it cycled through several Interim City Administrators for years until the arrival of City Administrator Sabrina Landreth in 2015. Thinking of itself as a bureaucracy capable of innovation did not necessarily come naturally. Compounding these challenges was the fact that Oakland’s local government has difficulty supporting most small businesses, let alone those operating in a newly legalized industry and owned by marginalized communities that might need specific education and support. The $3.4 million equity fund was used to contract with the third-party organization Make Green Go to provide services to equity applicants. However, the city does not formally track what happens to a business after it receives a permit so the ultimate impact remains largely unclear.

Other aspects of the equity program have created challenges for the city. For example, the incubator applicant requirements resulted in unintended consequences. By allowing general applicants to gain priority through providing incubation space, it tilted the playing field in favor of bigger businesses and left out smaller general applicants. The program also faced broader societal challenges in that some of the stakeholders, leaders, and staff were unfamiliar with the concept of equity versus equality. The Department of Race and Equity had to take considerable measures to educate stakeholders and bring them up to speed.

Assessing the Early Results

The City of Oakland has received a tremendous amount of applications for permits from cannabis businesses from all sectors (i.e., dispensary, distribution, delivery, manufacturing, and cultivation) since it began accepting them in March 2017. As of November 2019, Oakland received 1,391 [8] completed applications from cannabis businesses across all sectors of the industry. Of these applications, 823 were equity applicants and 369 were incubators. It is worth noting that 86 percent of the equity applicants qualify for the equity program based on residency in census tracts impacted by the War on Drugs while only 14 percent qualify based on a previous cannabis-related conviction.[9] Figure 2 provides a broad overview of the categories as well as the respective percentages of applications received within each. Equity and incubator applicants combine to make up over 87 percent of the applications received since the start of the program.

                              Figure 2: Oakland Cannabis Applications

Moving to the breakdown of which businesses have received local authorization to operate we see that, as of November 2019, Oakland had locally authorized 576 businesses across each sector since March 2017.[10, 11] The majority of these are equity businesses. Figure 3 provides a deeper dive into the demographics of Oakland’s earliest recreational cannabis businesses by examining Oakland businesses that received local authorization. Equity and incubator applicants combine to form a total 549 out of 576 of the initial cannabis authorizations.[12] The delivery and distribution sectors — which also have the lowest startup capital costs — have the highest number of equity businesses. However, transport and lab testing are also majority owned by those with equity permits though those sectors only represent a small number of  businesses.

Figure 3: Local Authorization by Sector

Based on this data, the equity program has achieved success in increasing the number and availability of opportunities for individuals previously impacted by disparities in cannabis arrests to participate in the Green Rush onslaught of cannabis businesses. However, the key issue is whether or not these increased opportunities have actually resulted in successful business ventures. Equity businesses still face the same barriers as all small businesses, but they are compounded by historic disinvestment in their communities. Communities of color already face higher barriers to entry for business ownership than the White population due to issues ranging from lack of access to capital to employment discrimination, to racial disparities in arrest history. This was partially addressed by the $3.4 million fund for technical assistance and loans. With just under half a million of this funding, the consultants from Make Green Go provided 199 equity applicants with one-on-one consultations, held workshops attended by 660 equity applicants, and created an online business bootcamp that enrolled 785 equity applicants through March of 2019. The city committed the remaining $3 million of the equity fund for a revolving loan program, which has committed $660,000 to 20 borrowers, with 24 more under review as of Spring 2019.[13] This funding has been bolstered by Oakland’s successful application for state equity funds. “Until the funding came, I couldn’t really do anything,” Jessie Grundy, an equity applicant who received a $100,000 loan from the equity fund told the San Francisco Chronicle.[14] “I’m just a one-man team out of Oakland, but you would never know it because I was able to get the funding to play with the big boys. If you don’t have the money to play with the big brands in this business, you’re going to get eaten up by the competition.”

Ultimately, the equity program will be unable to completely mitigate societal disadvantages, institutionalized racism, and historic disinvestment in communities impacted by the War on Drugs. While the program met its goal of giving at least some of the victims of the War on Drugs a better chance at taking advantage of the Green Rush, city officials have less short-term ability to change the broader forces disadvantaging equity applicants. As a result, the overall impact of the equity program could  be diluted. Oakland currently does not formally track what happens to equity businesses after they receive their authorization, so it is difficult to estimate the degree of commercial success they are seeing. There are also no systems currently in place to monitor the compliance of incubator businesses unless a complaint is filed. Additionally, if an incubator applicant goes out of business or loses their permit, the equity business hosted by the incubator also suffers. “In reality, these programs are giving the people of underserved communities false hopes of self-empowerment,” said Alexis Bronson, an equity applicant to the San Francisco Chronicle in October 2018. “Some will persevere, but the majority will not.”[15]

Meanwhile, the equity program likely restricted the Green Rush success of medical cannabis businesses that existed prior to recreational legalization, which had a head start on accessing the recreational market less available to owners of color. It is possible this had the overall effect of dampening the “cannabis boom” in Oakland as a whole, reducing tax revenue and lessening Oakland’s position as a boomtown for cannabis businesses. However, while city officials never publicly forecasted the earning potential of an unregulated cannabis economy, the Finance Department estimates that in 2018 Oakland cannabis businesses earned a healthy $165 million in gross receipts between both medical and recreational businesses.[16]

More broadly though, the program was highly successful in that it created a statewide movement for other cities to consider operationalizing equity in the cannabis industry as Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco have adopted similar programs (as discussed below). It also prompted the state to set aside $10 million for local government assistance programs to equity applicants, of which Oakland successfully secured $3 million in 2018. In 2019, the state set aside $30 million for equity assistance, of which Oakland is set to receive $1.6 million in the coming months.[17] “Oakland was ahead of the State by a year,” Flynn said. “We worked with them early on to ask them not to do anything in their regulations that would undermine our program like prohibited people with a felony conviction from operating a cannabis business.”

The cannabis equity program was also foundational to Oakland’s improved, though still imperfect, culture of thinking about equity as an organization. The praise and recognition that Oakland received for innovating a new equity-based program has also contributed to a renewed sense of ability and pride within the Oakland bureaucracy that would be reflected in other policy and implementation endeavors in the future. For example, Oakland would go on to upend the way it chooses which streets to repave in the spring of 2019 by enacting an equity-based three-year Paving Plan that equally weighted street condition with race and equity criteria for the neighborhood to drive services to underserved residents. “It has kind of exceeded our wildest expectations,” Flynn said. “When you do something innovative, you can’t predict what will happen. So we refine as go and make course corrections. That in some ways has been the most exciting part.”

Oakland as a National Model

Oakland’s equity program received national attention from supporters and other jurisdictions. Oakland’s status as a pioneer in local cannabis regulation lent intellectual credit to the idea of cannabis equity programs. In addition to the California cities mentioned earlier, states across the nation (including Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) have also implemented equity programs, though they are generally limited to fee discounts, training, and small permit set-asides. “Cannabis equity became the flavor of the month,” Flynn said. “People jumped on the bandwagon but didn’t necessarily go through the process that we did. But it doesn’t mean they can’t get there.”

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors created an Office of Cannabis in September 2017 and tasked them with writing an equity analysis report similar to Oakland’s. The report found similar historic racial disparities in arrest for cannabis. San Francisco capped the total number of permits available but restricted the first half of all permits to equity applicants, equity incubators, cannabis businesses that already existed in 2017, or those that operated a medical cannabis business that was forced to close due to federal pressure. All other applicants can apply after the first half of the permits have been issued.

While this has a similar structure to Oakland’s equity program, allowing businesses that previously existed early access somewhat defeats the purpose. It is likely that many of them were not owned by people of color, as is true in other cities. Including them in the initial allocation of half the permits can dilute the impact on entrepreneurs of color. Additionally, despite San Francisco’s greater level of resources, the rollout of the new permits has been quite slow. The average equity applicant can expect to wait 18-24 months before being permitted due to the lengthy interdepartmental review process and backlog.[18] Mayor London Breed proposed to add two new staffers to the department  in June 2019 to deal with this backlog. The San Francisco Controller’s Office recommends creating a priority permitting process for equity applicants in departments like planning, police, and building inspection.

Unintended Consequences of a Cannabis Economy

The cannabis economy in Oakland is an active new economic sector, bringing in almost $14 million in tax funds to city coffers and creating hundreds of new businesses and new jobs.[19] Integrating a relatively new sector of this size into an existing local economy can present challenges, particularly around land use. There have been increasing concerns raised about the potential for cannabis businesses to displace artist live/work spaces that have flourished in Oakland over the last few decades. In March 2018, Mayor Schaaf successfully sponsored legislation to prohibit cannabis businesses from occupying a building that was previously used as live/work space for artists. While this policy is helpful in some situations, it can only apply to properties zoned as residential even though many informal artist residents are in non-residential buildings.

Recommendation for Promoting Equity Going Forward: Restructure Oakland’s Cannabis Tax System

Given that the cannabis equity permitting system was lifted once the equity fund goals were met, the City of Oakland must pursue other options for supporting existing and future equity businesses. Of the levers available to the city, tax policy is perhaps the most impactful. Oakland set tax rates for recreational cannabis in 2010, before adult use was even legalized in California. At the time, this was seen as a forward-thinking move that positioned the city well to reap the potential benefits of legalized recreational cannabis, which was on the statewide ballot that same year. Although recreational use failed, the tax measure was structured in such a way that the council did not have discretion to alter the 10 percent tax rate it set. After recreational cannabis was legalized in 2016, Oakland’s tax system became additionally problematic when neighboring jurisdictions passed lower rates that put Oakland at a disadvantage. The State of California also imposed a 15 percent excise tax on recreational sales, putting the total tax rate on the sale of adult-use cannabis in Oakland at a staggering 25 percent—a rate high enough to keep much of the cannabis economy underground. A high tax rate disproportionately impacts cannabis entrepreneurs of color who already face the systemic and historical disadvantages described earlier.

In 2018, a measure to give City Council the discretion to change cannabis tax rates passed with 80 percent support from the voters. While the measure did not dictate specific tax rates, after passage Councilmembers Kalb and Kaplan proposed to lower taxes to as low as 0.12 percent depending on the size and sector of the cannabis business.[20] Budget staff estimated this would cost the city $9.1 million per year in lost tax revenue. Without requiring that further equity components be included, this massive tax reduction would relinquish the City’s largest bargaining tool for impacting the cannabis industry without creating increased opportunities for equity.

To maintain its position as a leading innovator on the cannabis industry and equity, the City of Oakland should use the tax system to reward businesses that work toward its equity goals. Councilmember Loren Taylor, who defeated Councilmember Brooks in 2018, was the first to raise the idea of an equity-based tax structure in response to the Kaplan and Kalb proposal. After months of debate, the Council lowered the tax rate in December 2019 for all equity businesses with gross receipts under $1.5 million to 0.12 percent per year. It also created a phased-in system that lowered the tax rates for non-equity businesses and larger equity businesses to between 2.5 and 5 percent for non-equity businesses by 2022 depending on the size and sector of the business. Non-equity businesses can receive 0.5 percent rebates for equity activities such as incubating an equity business, local hiring, equity supply chain contractors, and workforce quality of life. However, businesses are limited in the number and frequency of rebates they can receive and still must pay a minimum tax rate of 2.5 percent in 2022. Most business tax classifications in Oakland pay below 2 percent per year. Cannabis businesses assessed at 2.5 percent will pay the highest business tax rate in Oakland, followed by the classification for “Firearms Dealers” that pay 2.4 percent.[21]

The City of Oakland should waive business taxes and permit fees entirely for equity businesses in all market segments and revenue levels and provide greater incentives to non-equity businesses via tax rebates to further equity goals. The 0.5 percent discount per equity activity is likely not enough of an incentive to yield the desired outcomes, especially since it is still capped at a relatively high rate.The values that originated the equity program and the Department of Race and Equity hold true regardless of the size or level of success of the equity business. While this proposal would likely face pushback from the city budget staff and other business, it is worth it to further the goals of the equity program. As outlined previously, Oakland’s equity program only succeeded in the sense that it increased equity in the initial permitting phase of the cannabis boom — after that, the equity program’s reach is limited to revolving loans and business assistance. An equity-based tax structure is critical to extending equity goals through the life cycle of businesses.

Further steps should also be taken to set aside cannabis tax revenue from non-equity businesses to invest in City services and programs that promote equity. This could be anything from dedicated funding for the Department of Race and Equity to community grant programs. Funding should also support workforce development programs in the cannabis sector for populations meeting the equity requirements. There are significant opportunities for employment in the industry, with the retail and distribution sectors having particularly high job creation potential. A formalized job training program for cannabis would benefit businesses looking for skilled workers as well as further equity goals. Due to Oakland’s success in securing $4.6 million over two years in state equity funds, there are additional opportunities to expand Oakland’s equity permits to include more grants for equity applicants’ startup and ongoing costs, additional technical and legal assistance programs, and/or leasing commercial kitchens for equity manufacturers. Oakland should also conduct a follow-up equity analysis on the cannabis economy to assess how the industry is operating in the real world and provide recommendations for addressing any resulting inequities.

“It’s Oakland and it’s cannabis. It’s part of our counterculture,” Flynn said. “It’s never been weird to talk about cannabis here whereas other cities only talked about it in terms of enforcement. We picked up that ball and innovated the equity program. There is a clear governmental role here. Capitalism or the private sector won’t support it – it’s not their job. If the market was going to create it, it would have already. But there is too much structural racism.”

Aly Bonde is a Master of Public Administration student at the Goldman School of Public Policy.


  1. Flynn, Darlene. “Equity Analysis and Proposed Cannabis Amendments,” City of Oakland March 7, 2017. www.oaklandca.gov
  2. Rothwell, Jonathan. “How the War on Drugs Damages Black Social Mobility,” Brookings Institute September 13, 2014. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/09/30/how-the-war-on-drugs-damages-black-social-mobility/
  3. Interview, Assistant to the City Administrator Greg Minor, December 10, 2019.
  4. Interview, Darlene Flynn, DIrector of Race and Equity December 10, 2019
  5. Flynn, Darlene. “Meeting of the Oakland City Council” City of Oakland March 7, 2017.  www.oakland.legistar.gov
  6.   Kasaine, Katano. “Non-Medical Cannabis Business Tax Rate Reduction II” City of Oakland May 16, 2019. www.oaklandca.gov
  7. “Agenda for the Cannabis Regulatory Commission Meeting” City of Oakland Dec. 5, 2019. https://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/November-7th-Agenda-Packet.pdfhttps://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/Dec.-5th-Packet.pdf
  8. This number includes applications for multiple uses (cultivation, distribution, etc) from single applicants so overstates the total number of discrete applicants
  9. Minor, Greg “Agenda for the Cannabis Regulatory Commission Meeting” City of Oakland Nov. 7, 2019. https://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/November-7th-Agenda-Packet.pdf
  10. Minor, Greg “Agenda for Cannabis Regulatory Commission” Nov. 7, 2019
  11. Note that there are more cannabis businesses operating in Oakland but these numbers depict those who have applied to the state for their license.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid
  14. Ravani, Sarah. “Oakland’s Groundbreaking Cannabis Equity Program Showing Modest Results” San Francisco Chronicle May 25, 2019.
  15. Taylor, Otis. “Oakland’s Pot Equity Program Withering on the Vine” San Francisco Chronicle October 18, 2018.
  16. Kasaine, Katano. “Non-Medical Cannabis Business Tax Rate Reduction II” City of Oakland May 16, 2019. www.oaklandca.gov.
  17. Minor, Greg “Cannabis Regulatory Commission Meeting” Nov. 7
  18. City and County of San Francisco Office of the Controller “Cannabis in San Francisco: A Review Following Adult-Use Legalization” December 5, 2019.https://sfcontroller.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Auditing/Cannabis%20in%20San%20Francisco_A%20Review%20Following%20Adult-Use%20Legalization_FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
  19. Kasaine, Katano. “Non-Medical Cannabis Business Tax Rate Reduction II” City of Oakland May 16, 2019. www.oaklandca.gov
  20. Kasaine, Katano. “Non-Medical Cannabis Business Tax Rate Reduction II” City of Oakland May 16, 2019. www.oaklandca.gov.
  21. “Business Tax Classification and Rates Tables” Finance and Management Agency City of Oakland. http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/fwawebsite/revenue/taxtables.htm