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Cannabis Equity applicant certification

We want to create a system that fosters racial equity and inclusion in the new cannabis industry.

In November 2019, the City of Boston passed an "Ordinance Establishing Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Boston". This ordinance was the result of a collaboration from many stakeholders. Our goal is to bring the benefit of this industry to all Boston communities.

After your business joins the program, we’ll include you in our outreach efforts. We can also connect you to resources offered inside and outside of the City. You can learn more about documents needed and requirements to apply below. After you get your documents together, you can apply by emailing your information to Boston Equity program manager Chayla White at Chayla.White@boston.gov.

Eligibility and criteria information

Eligibility and criteria information

Boston City Ordinance 8-13.3 sets the eligibility criteria for the Boston Equity Program. Your business can apply for the program if at least 51 percent of your ownership group meets at least three of the following criteria:

  • A person who has resided in an area of disproportionate impact (ADI), as defined by the Boston Cannabis Board, for at least 5 of the last 10 years
  • A person who:
    • has a past arrest or conviction for the possession, sale, manufacturing, or cultivation of Marijuana between 1971 and 2016, who has been a resident of Boston for the past five years, OR
    • is the child of a person with a past arrest or conviction for the possession, sale, manufacturing, or cultivation of Marijuana between 1971 and 2016, who has been a resident of Boston for the past 5 years
  • A person who has resided in the City of Boston for at least the past 7 years
  • A person who is of Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, or Indigenous descent
  • A person whose annual household income is at or below 100% of the area median income
  • A person who has been certified by the Cannabis Control Commission as an Economic Empowerment Applicant, or is a participant in the Cannabis Control Commission's Social Equity Program and is a resident of Boston for at least one of the last three years
  • A person who is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force) who served on active duty and was discharged under conditions which were other than dishonorable
When submitting the required documents:

Please be sure to provide the following information:

  • the name and address of the proposed business
  • proposed business type
  • if and when you filed an application with the Boston Cannabis Board, filed for zoning with Inspectional Services, and completed the community process
  • whether you are an Economic Empowerment or Social Equity Program participant through the Cannabis Control Commission (if so, please provide a copy of your certification letter)
  • which of the seven (7) criteria you believe you qualify under, and
  • if you are seeking qualification under the Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, or Indigenous descent criteria, please include a statement specifying your ethnic and racial descent.

To ensure that each person counting towards at least 51% of the entity’s ownership meets the eligibility criteria, please gather and provide the following items for each individual:

  • A copy of your driver's license and, if applicable, a certified proof of residency form from your city or town in addition to one of the following:
    • Mortgage statement
    • Property Tax Statement
    • Property Deed
    • Homestead Exemption
    • Lease agreement (first page and signature page), or
    • an Alternative Residency Statement (living with family member, not on lease, month-to-month tenant, or other housing type).
  • City of Boston certification form signed by the applicant or applicants
  • Copy of most recent federal and state income tax return, and current pay stub
  • Signed CORI acknowledgement form for employment and licensing
  • If seeking to qualify as a person who is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States, please provide a DD214
  • If seeking to qualify as a person who is of Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, or Asian descent, please provide a copy of  your birth certificate (if your birth certificate does not indicate race, please provide either a birth or death certificate of a parent)
  • A copy of one of the following:
    • heating bill (oil, gas, electric)
    • electric bill
    • phone bill
    • bank statement
    • credit card bill
    • cable bill
    • car insurance coverage page, or
    • car registration with no stickers. Please submit one bill or statement for each year you are trying to prove ADI/Boston residency. 

Please note: Your application before the Boston Cannabis Board will not be considered complete until we have received sufficient documents, as noted here. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. The City of Boston reserves the right to request additional documents in its sole discretion.

    Corporate due diligence

    We want to ensure all entities applying for the Boston Equity Program meet the eligibility criteria. For that reason, we will be conducting corporate due diligence. Please gather and provide the following items:

    • if applicable, an up-to-date stock ledger for the entity
    • copy of any outstanding debt agreements where a non-owner or non-member is entitled to a share in profits of the business
    • operating and partnership agreements
    • contact information for all shareholders and business owners
    • individual and Organization Beneficial Interest Disclosure forms
    • a Capital Resources Disclosure form, and
    • a Corporate structure chart reflective of the corporate structure of the proposed licensee entity, holding entities, and ultimate beneficial interest holders.
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