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Cannabis Equity Program

The objective of Cannabis Equity Program is to support equitable opportunities in the local cannabis industry by making legal cannabis business ownership and employment opportunities more accessible to individuals impacted by the prior criminalization of cannabis in the City. This includes providing individuals with support and access to resources such as direct grants, fee waivers, expedited application and facility plan check review, cultivation tax deferrals, and Direct Technical Assistance to open an Equity Business, whether it is a cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, lab testing and/or dispensary license type(s).

The longer-term goal of the Program is to recognize and address the long-term negative social impact associated with the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis policies on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and low-income communities in the City. Long-term impacts from the criminalization of cannabis include social stigma of criminal conviction and incarceration, family and community disintegration (especially if the incarcerated individual was the primary or sole income earner in the household), permanent loss of property, disqualification from employment opportunities, reduced earnings potential, exclusion from public benefits, and inability to vote in public elections.

Equity Program Opportunities:

Open an
Equity Business


Individuals who qualify for the Equity Program and want to open a cannabis business in the City of Long Beach are eligible to receive the following assistance to help navigate the City's cannabis application process:

  • Access to application workshops

  • Fee waivers

  • Direct grants

  • Expedited application and facility plan check review

  • Cultivation tax deferrals

  • Reduced taxes
  • Direct Technical Assistance


Get a Job
in Cannabis

Equity Employment

Individuals who qualify for the Equity Program are eligible to receive the following benefits and assistance to get a job in the cannabis industry: 

  • Employment opportunities

  • Job fairs and orientations

  • Job search assistance




Governor signs Senator Bradford’s SB 51 to increase diversity in California cannabis market.  SB 51 will support small entrepreneurs by renewing the state’s ability to issue provisional licenses for local cannabis equity applicants.  Click here to learn more. 


Useful Links:


DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for members of the public as a resource for general information. The information on this website may be incomplete, contain errors, or change without notice. The information provided is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon without first consulting a qualified attorney.

Cannabis Equity

  • What is cannabis equity?

    Social equity is any social policy concerned with justice and fairness. Equity is when everyone can reach their highest level of health and potential for a successful life, regardless of their background and identity. Cannabis equity means applying an equitable lens to cannabis policies.  

    The historic criminalization of cannabis, referred to as the "War on Drugs", has disproportionately affected communities of color. Cannabis convictions and arrests have barred these communities from participating in the legal market and has left an entire community of people with limited access to housing, education, and employment.  

    The City is fostering the inclusion of a new business community through public policy by opening the door to those with limited access to capital, limited ability to secure property, and limited ability to navigate the licensing process.

    Social equity centers around a commitment to diversity, a belief that we should not be defined by our past alone, that equal opportunity is a right, that equity is the path to equality, and a vital investment in a healthier community.

  • How is the City increasing equity in cannabis?

    The City is committed to increasing equity in cannabis through the following areas of the City's Cannabis Social Equity Program:

    Equity Ownership: Equity applicants are eligible for a variety of benefits throughout the City's licensing process, including fee waivers, direct grants, expedited application review, application workshops, and technical assistance. 

    Equity Hire: Adult-use cananbis businesses are required to hire equity employees for at least 40% of the work hours performed at the business. The City helps connect equity employees to adult-use cannabis businesses in Long Beach. 

    Community Reinvestment: All adult-use cannabis businesses are required to submit plans describing how they intend to support and reinvest in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs. Each plan must describe how the business intends to support one or more of the following community priorities within eligible Social Equity Program census tracts:

    • Child & Youth Development
    • Violence Prevention
    • Re-Entry
    • Economic Inclusion