First Introduced By Council Noel Gallo At The End Of A Marathon Council Meeting Earlier This Month, Itimmediately Drew Criticism From Some Cannabis Business Owners Who Did Not Fit The Criteria, Called It Likely Illegal And Said Businesses Would Flee Oakland.

The council voted 6-2 to ax the requirement. The residency issuewas part of a months-long debate to overhaul how the city regulates its pot industry. In particular, the new laws are designed to help African-Americans disproportionately arrested for drug crimes or living for years in neighborhoods torn apart by the U.S. war on drugs open a business by obtaining an equity permit. The residency requirement would have applied to general applicants, not people seeking an equity permit. First introduced by Medical marijuana stocks Council Noel Gallo at the end of a marathon council meeting earlier this month, itimmediately drew criticism from some cannabis business owners who did not fit the criteria, called it likely illegal and said businesses would flee Oakland. The rift between longtime residents and cannabis business owners new to Oakland continued at Tuesdays council meeting when Gallo withdrew his idea, angering many Oakland natives in attendance who said his about-face favors outsiders and hurts their chances of entering the pot industry. One resident said he was heartbroken by the change: These same people were quiet when we were being arrested at disproportionate rates, he said, referring to pot business owners. The new laws approved in a meeting on March 7 set aside 50 percent of medical marijuana and cannabis business permits for those who qualify for an equity permit. To qualify, applicants must have been arrested for a drug crime within Oakland dating back to 1996 and live within identified police beats for at least 10 of the past 20 years while earning below 80 percent of the citys average median income. All of the police beats fall within West Oakland and the flatlands of East Oakland and were selected because of high arrest rates. City data shows over the past 20 years, African-Americans have been arrested for drug crimes at a much higher rate than other residents. At times, Tuesdays hearing grew testy.

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