News / Cannabis Control Commission Launches First-Ever Advanced Course Curricula for Social Equity Program Participants
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2023
Senior Press Secretary
Cannabis Control Commission Launches First-Ever Advanced Course Curricula for Social Equity Program Participants
Free training will occur throughout the month of May and focus on sustaining a successful cannabis business in Massachusetts
WORCESTER—This month, the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) announced the launch of newly developed advanced Social Equity Program (SEP) training courses, which will be available for the first time in the program’s history. The new programming is designed to help current SEP Participants navigate sustaining a successful business, especially in the competitive cannabis industry. The curricula will range from financial planning and organizational and strategic development, to diversity, equity, and inclusion and human resources.
“We are committed to providing ongoing support to SEP Participants at various stages of their journey in the cannabis industry, and this month-long slate of advanced classes will address some of the challenges of owning a business,” said Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien. “I’m proud that the Commission is providing the pointed coursework that Participants made clear were some of the biggest concerns for the viability of their businesses.”
These courses will be available for free and offered live throughout the month of May. They were created directly in response to feedback from SEP Participants and will be recorded for future Participants’ use. The Commission surveyed licensees from the program who have already secured a license or commenced operations to determine the ongoing challenges that they are experiencing when creating and maintaining a successful business in Massachusetts. Through those answers, the agency created specific advanced coursework, including:
- Raising Capital Strategies
- Targeting the Right Investors
- Building a Sustainable Organization and Human Resources Structuring
- Creating Brand Awareness
The feedback from SEP participants also spoke to the fact that the Commission’s equity programs address more than how to seek a license. Many are interested in pursuing employment or contract opportunities through Massachusetts’ legal cannabis industry as well.
Since 2018, 872 Participants have already met one or more SEP criteria and had the option of completing training along four, self-selected tracks:
- Entrepreneur: Those seeking licensure and ownership;
- Core: Those interested in cannabis careers at the managerial and executive level;
- Entry: Those seeking entry level positions in marijuana establishments or are entering the workforce with 0-2 years of experience; and
- Ancillary: Those with existing skills directly transferable to supporting cannabis businesses.
In a recent survey, a representative sample of respondents demonstrates that 39% of Participants have already engaged in SEP training and technical assistance. Last summer, the program was also codified by the Legislature and signed into law under Chapter 180 of the Acts of 2022: An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry, which states “the Commission shall administer a social equity program to encourage and enable full participation in the marijuana industry of people from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities”.
In addition to training and technical assistance, upon receiving Commission approval to join the program, all SEP Participants gain immediate access to benefits. Those seeking licensure receive expedited application review by staff, certain fee reductions and waivers, and the ability to exclusively apply for Social Consumption and Delivery license types for at least a three-year period. Participants also benefit from a pre-certification process that enables the Commission to confirm an entity’s propensity to open one of the aforementioned business licenses and assist with obtaining lease agreements, other local level approvals, and investment opportunities before they apply for a license.
Through its first three cohorts, the Commission has approved 138 SEP Participants for licenses, many of whom participated in the survey to make this advanced coursework possible. The Commission will open Cohort IV later this year to begin the next round of free statewide technical assistance and training, keeping with the Commission’s commitment to ensuring a safe, effective, and equitable cannabis industry in Massachusetts.
For more information about the program or the application, visit the Commission’s Social Equity Program FAQ or Equity Program web page at MassCannabisControl.Com/Equity, contact the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.com), or follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter.
Subscribe for updates from the Cannabis Control Commission.