Individuals with previous cannabis-related criminal charges could get a second chance at job opportunities with a new equity program.
The Monterey County Cannabis Equity Grant Program is currently calling for potential employees to apply for a prescreening process for those interested in working at or owning a business in the local cannabis industry.
The cannabis equity program gained approval in a 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors in October to develop a structure that would provide equal opportunities and diversity in the local commercial cannabis industry.
Program manager Joann Iwamoto said the program seeks to help individuals and communities who may have experienced limited job opportunities as a result of any cannabis-related charge and as a result of any disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs.
A California State University of Monterey Bay equity assessment found that the majority of the more than 7,000 people who experienced at least one arrest for a cannabis-related crime between 1995 and 2005 identified as either Hispanic or African American. Only African Americans continued to experience a disproportionate share of arrests between 2006 and 2016.
The assessment shows many of the arrests took place in unincorporated areas as well as in Salinas.
“Social equity programs provide this opportunity and serves as a gateway to mitigate the impacts and to right wrongs,” Iwamoto said.
Program officials are currently applying for state cannabis equity grant money which aims to make legal cannabis business ownership and employment opportunities more accessible to low income people and communities most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
The number of prescreen applicants will help the program establish a baseline of potential workers.
Positions could include management, retail and ownership in commercial cannabis operations in the allowable zoning areas of the county.
The deadline for prescreening applications is Dec. 8.
The application can be accessed at:
The completed form can be emailed to Cannabis Analyst Myles Echenique at email@example.com.
Forms can also be mailed or personally delivered to Monterey County Cannabis Program at 168 W. Alisal Street, 3rd Floor Salinas, CA, 93901
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