BOSTON (State House News Service) – For the next five weeks, the Cannabis Control Commission will accept public feedback on the list of municipalities that it considers to have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition as it considers an update.
Being on the CCC’s official list of disproportionately impacted areas (DIA) could benefit a community and its residents in two primary ways. Having lived in a DIA for five of the last 10 years is among the criteria that can make an applicant eligible for the CCC’s Social Equity Program and marijuana establishment applicants are asked to present the CCC with a plan for helping disproportionately impacted communities, which often leads to support for community organizations based in DIAs.
“Although the Commission has not yet identified a timeline to discuss what, if any, policy changes they may make to its DIA list, this public comment period will provide critical feedback to inform future consideration of the issue,” the CCC said.
A public comment period that started Monday will stay open through 5 p.m. on Friday, March 4. The CCC said to submit comments to Commission@CCCMass.com with the subject line “Public Comment: Disproportionately Impacted Areas.”
Last fall, CCC Commissioner Nurys Camargo broached the subject of adding Lawrence, which has the largest Hispanic/Latinx population in Massachusetts, to the CCC’s official list of DIAs. The Merrimack Valley city, she said, was not designated as an area of disproportionate impact when the CCC first made the list in 2018 “due to limited data.”
A March 2021 study that remains under CCC review similarly left Lawrence off its list for the same reason. At the time that Camargo got the CCC to agree to work with Lawrence to gather the necessary data, commissioners expressed a desire to take a more holistic look at the list of DIAs. Commissioner Kimberly Roy pointed out that the March report the CCC has under review included a list of 36 areas that could be considered for DIA status.
The CCC’s current list of DIAs includes all of Abington, Amherst, Braintree, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Fitchburg, Greenfield, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lynn, Mansfield, Monson, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Southbridge, Spencer, Taunton, Walpole, Wareham, West Springfield, and certain neighborhoods of Boston, Lowell, Springfield and Worcester.