Oakland’s Equity Permit Program

Equity Analysis by the Department of Race and Equity

Oakland is the first city in the nation to establish a cannabis equity permit program. In November of 2016 a race and equity analysis of the cannabis regulation was conducted. A few months later, the findings revealed astonishing disparities, proving the need for an equity permit program. As seen below (Figure 1), from 1995-2015, people of color made up 95% of cannabis arrests, while whites only made up 3% of them ( the remaining 2% fall under “other”).

Figure 1. Oakland Equity Analysis Findings, Leslie Valencia, Cannabis Equity, 2017


Social Equity Definition

The definition that Oakland adopted is “Promoting equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities of color and to address the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in those communities.”

Criteria for Equity Applicants

  • Oakland resident making < 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI); AND

  • Lived in any combination of Oakland’s police beats with historically high cannabis arrests for at least 10 of the last 20 years (2X, 2Y, 6X, 7X, 19X, 21X, 21Y, 23X, 26Y, 27X, 27Y, 29X, 30X, 30Y, 31Y, 32X, 33X, 34X, 5X, 8X and 35X) ; OR

  • Arrested after November 5, 1996 and convicted of a cannabis crime committed in Oakland, California with same income restriction

    • Ownership shall mean the individual or individuals who: (i) own 50% or more in the for profit entity (ii) constitute a majority of the board of directors for not for-profit OR (iii) have a controlling interest in the collective's governing body.

Benefits for Equity Applicants

  • Priority permitting processing

1:1 ratio of equity vs general applicants

  • No-interest loans

  • Technical assistance

  • Waived city fees

Criteria for Equity Incubators

  • General applicants providing free real estate to Equity Owners

Min. 1,000sf for a min of 3 years with security requirements included

    • Dispensary staff must be comprised of 50% of Oakland residents and 25% of Oakland residents in census tracts identified by the City Administrator as having high unemployment rates or low household incomes.

Benefits for Incubators

  • Priority licensing


An Interactive Map of Permitted Zones for Cannabis Facilities

An Interactive Map of Police Beats

The police beats with historically high cannabis arrests for at least 10 of the last 20 years are 2X, 2Y, 6X, 7X, 19X, 21X, 21Y, 23X, 26Y, 27X, 27Y, 29X, 30X, 30Y, 31Y, 32X, 33X, 34X, 5X, 8X and 35X. See if you have lived in one here:

Oakland’s Equity Incubator Online Partnering Tool

A platform where Equity applicants can connect with incubators online (similar to a dating site). www.cannaequity.org

Technical Assistance Provided to Equity Applicants

The City assigned Make Green Go as its consultant assigned to provide technical assistance to equity applicants. Through their online portal they provide workshops (Compliance Workshops Subject Matter Experts), consultations (Business Coaching, Document Review, Business Plan Review, Compliance Related Topics), courses (Entrepreneurship Training, Business Plan Development, State of California Licensing Information) and resources (Sample Plans & Templates, Start-Up Advice, Industry Research, Legal Resources, Sales & Marketing Funding Sources) to verified equity applicants.   

Cannabis Permit Process

Annual Local Cannabis Permit Fees

Gross Sales 1st Permit Each Additional Permit

Gross Sales > $999,999 $10,906.56 $4,149.77

Gross Sales = $500,000 - $999,999 $5,684.68 $2089.98

Gross Sales < $500,000 $3,059.91 $872.19*

Dispensary $12,345.10

On-Site Consumption $1,944.20

Download a PDF version of this information below!