Los Angeles, Oakland and other cities create ‘equity programs’ to help minority ex-cons get into legal pot.
In California, a criminal record can prevent you from obtaining a liquor license but give you a leg up in obtaining a permit to deal dope. What gives?
It’s all part of an effort in the Golden State to help more minorities become “marijuana entrepreneurs.” On New Year’s Day, California became the ninth state to legalize cannabis for recreational use, but officials are worried that not enough blacks will qualify for the permits needed to sell weed legally. To address this “problem,” Los Angeles, Oakland and other cities have created “equity programs” that offer no-interest loans and other perks to people who live in poor black neighborhoods and have been convicted of drug crimes. If you’re a white applicant, you can improve your own chances of receiving a permit by “incubating” an equity applicant, which means making him a 50% partner in the business or giving him floor space in your establishment, rent-free.
The progressives who dreamed this up sold it as a way to compensate blacks, who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. But what about the disproportionate number of blacks who have been victims of these black drug dealers? What about all the law-abiding blacks who reside in poor neighborhoods where drug gangs have taken over playgrounds and street corners and school yards and made the sound of gunfire a summer-night norm?
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.