For more than a year, Los Angeles entrepreneurs Kika Keith and Madison Shockley III have been waiting to see the city’s new equity program for cannabis retail licenses help put Black-owned businesses on the path to success — as was intended.
As a new documentary released this week shows, Keith and Shockley have also spent this time trying to remedy the failures of that equity program, on both the individual and legal level — and those legal efforts paid off in a big way this summer, according to the pair.
Speaking by phone ahead of the release of episode two (“Accela”) of the WebJoint doc Social Equity: Up In Smoke, Keith and Shockley said that they’re finally starting to see meaningful shifts in power toward, and brought on by, Black cannabis entrepreneurs such as themselves.
As MJBizDaily explained in July, Shockley and the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association (SEOWA), of which Keith is a co-founding member, filed a lawsuit last year in response to seemingly unfair prioritization or slowdowns for applicants, exploitative investor moves, and other effective loopholes in the program.
It’s one of multiple lawsuits filed against Los Angeles’ cannabis regulatory body in recent years over the equity program, whether in response to the initial application process or the phases that follow.