Last updated:

Boston Equity Program for Cannabis Businesses

The Boston Equity Program designates qualified licensees as Certified Boston Equity Applicants. We also provide access to financial and technical assistance through the Boston Equity Fund and Technical Assistance Program.

In November 2019, the City of Boston passed an "Ordinance Establishing Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Boston", establishing the Boston Equity Program.

To achieve equity, the program prioritizes applicants and licensees from backgrounds and neighborhoods most affected by the War on Drugs with a particular focus on people of:

  • Black and African American
  • Hispanic and Latino
  • Indigenous, and 
  • Asian descent

 

Program Information

Program Information

Your business can apply for the program if at least 51 percent of your ownership group meets at least THREE of the following criteria:

  1.  A person who has resided in an Area of Disproportionate impact (ADI), including the City of Lawrence and census tract 7320.01 of Worcester, as defined by the Boston Cannabis Board, for at least 5 of the last 10 years
  2. 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.
  3. A person who has resided in the City of Boston for at least the past 7 years.
  4. A person who is of Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, or Indigenous descent.
  5. A person whose annual household income is at or below 100% of the area median income for their city or town.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 that were other than dishonorable.

The eligibility criteria for the Boston Equity Program were set by the Boston City Ordinance 8-13.3. You can find more information about eligibility requirements and examples of eligibility documentation on the Boston Equity Program frequently asked questions.

Below are examples of the types of accepted documentation you may submit for each eligibility criterion.

Please note:

When submitting the required documents, be sure to provide the following information for each individual counting towards at least 51% of the entity’s ownership:

A person who has resided in an Area of Disproportionate impact (ADI), including the City of Lawrence and census tract 7320.01 of Worcester, as defined by the Boston Cannabis Board, for at least 5 of the last 10 years. You must submit one bill or statement for each year you are trying to prove residency:

  • Mortgage statement
  • Property Tax Statement
  • Property Deed
  • Homestead Exemption
  • Lease agreement (first page and signature page), heating bill (oil, gas, electric)
  • Electric bill
  • Phone bill
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card bill
  • Cable bill
  • Car insurance coverage page

Proof of Past Conviction:

Proof of Residency in Boston for 1, 5, or 7 years as it applies. You must submit one bill or statement for each year you are trying to prove residency:

  • Mortgage statement
  • Property Tax Statement
  • Property Deed
  • Homestead Exemption
  • Lease agreement (first page and signature page), heating bill (oil, gas, electric)
  • Electric bill
  • Phone bill
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card bill
  • Cable bill
  • Car insurance coverage page

Proof of Income. Please provide copies of your most recent:

  • Federal Tax Return, or
  • State Tax Return

Proof of CCC Economic Empowerment or Social Equity Program Certification:

  • Provide a copy of your certification letter.

Proof of Service:

  • Provide your DD214 record.

Proof of Race/Ethnicity:

  • Provide a government-issued ID.

Note: This list is not meant to be exhaustive. The Cannabis Business Manager may request additional information.

Pre-certification for the Boston Equity Program is available to assist applicants before obtaining a lease or Letter of Intent (LOI) for their business. Applicants who show they are eligible for pre-certification will receive an official letter from the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. This notice may be useful to the applicant to share when they are in talks about finalizing a site for their business.

However, before the applicant can be fully certified for the Boston Equity Program or complete their Marijuana Establishment Application with the Boston Cannabis Board (BCB), the applicant will need to obtain:

  • proof of legal right to occupy the premise
  • a notarized letter from a landlord, or
  • a Letter of Intent (LOI) to submit an application to the Boston Cannabis Board and be fully eligible for the Boston Equity Program.

Want to learn more about pre-certification or apply? Please contact the Cannabis Business Manager, Shekia Scott, at Shekia.Scott@boston.gov or call her at 617-635-0053.

BOSTON EQUITY FUND

The Fund offers financing through grants to certified equity applicants and licensees. These include:

  • working capital
  • legal fees
  • startup costs
  • build-out
  • equipment purchases, and
  • much more

Please note: No purchases of product or paraphernalia may be made with grant funds.

Have questions about the Boston Equity Fund? Contact Cannabis Fund Manager, Joe Gilmore at joseph.gilmore@boston.gov or 617-635-5729

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE (TA) PROGRAM

The program offers consulting services to certified equity applicants and licensees. These include: 

  • support through the application process
  • development of business plans, accounting, and tax
  • preparedness
  • help with legal compliance,
  • marketing, branding, website support, and
  • much more.

Are you a qualified industry expert? You can become a TA provider for this program by responding to the public Request for Proposals (RFP) at the City's Supplier Portal.
Access the City's Supplier Portal online. The RFP number is EV00009089.

Have questions about the Technical Assistance Program? Contact Cannabis Business Manager, Shekia Scott at shekia.scott@boston.gov or 617-635-0053

Cannabis registry map screenshot

Cannabis registry map

View locations and the current status of establishments that have applied for a cannabis license.
Show Map

Cannabis facility registry dataset

This Open Data Registry includes currently licensed applicants as well as pending cannabis license applicants.

Back to top