By Drew Bollea

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Who can operate a marijuana business may include felons if an equity program is approved by the Sacramento City Council.

There are currently strict restrictions on the criminal history of potential owners and managers. An easing of the regulations has some concerned about potential issues.

“I want to see better actors in here,” said Lanette Davies.

She runs Canna Care Dispensary in North Sacramento.

“I want to see us move forward and I want us to be leaders, but I want us to be responsible in our leadership,” said Davies.

She says her shop has passed local, state and federal audits. She prides herself on running a clean business.

“Every single one of these people had to go through a criminal background check and be approved,” said Davies pointing to a business permit.

Sacramento city staff is now proposing some changes to the rules, which determine who can run a marijuana-related business.

“What we’re looking at are barriers to entry,” explained Sacramento’s “pot czar “Joe Devlin.

He says an equity program would help minorities, women, and veterans gain access to the marijuana industry.

“Help connect these small entrepreneurs with other large parts of the industry,” explained Devlin.

The equity program includes business plan development workshops, networking and mentoring opportunities, and legal and compliance help.

But part of the proposal includes easing the criminal background history requirement.

“Certainly in this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Devlin.

Right now, anyone charged or convicted of a felony is barred from owning or managing a cannabis business. Under the proposal, only people convicted would be disqualified, and they’d still have an opportunity to appeal.

“They can come in and say, ‘Hey look, that was me way back then, and this is who I am as a person now,’” said Devlin.

“It’s over the top ridiculous,” said the leader of the International Faith-Based Community, Bishop Ron Allen.

He takes a hard line on the issue.

“No one with a felony should handle dope,” said Allen.

He’s concerned the potential for bad actors around marijuana would be devastating.

“I think our city council members should really be concerned about this and not push it forward,” said Allen.


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