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New England News

Senate Rejects Loan Fund For Social Equity Pot Stores In Massachusetts

marijuana in jars for sale

Massachusetts State Senators, as part of their budget deliberations, rejected a proposal to create a $1 million loan fund for social equity marijuana businesses.

The proposed loan fund was a response to complaints that small businesses, minorities, and people harmed by marijuana prohibition are being left out as the market in the growing cannabis industry in Massachusetts goes to out-of-state companies.

But, Democratic State Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow said the idea came late in the budget development process.

" We need to go through the committee process. We need to engage with the Cannabis Control Commission and we need to take a little bit of a broader view of any law that would do that," said Lesser.

The law legalizing marijuana sales in Massachusetts includes preferences for social equity applicants, but they are blocked from traditional bank loans because of federal drug enforcement laws.