Social Equity Programs are designed to lower barriers to cannabis licensing for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs.

Thousands of lives — predominantly within communities of color — have been negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition. In an attempt to counter this history, many states and cities have implemented Social Equity Programs in connection alongside cannabis legalization.

Social Equity Programs create a more inclusive and diverse industry. They help provide ownership opportunities, expand educational tools, end policies that burden communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, and invest in communities that have been disenfranchised due to the consequences of drug policies of the past. While other industries have focused purely on profits, growth, and other capitalistic tendencies — the cannabis industry includes an agenda to right the wrongs of outdated laws and policies in order to create more equitable opportunities.

The ‘RC’ in SPARC originally stood for “Resource Center” — we know that education and access to information is a critical part of supporting the cannabis community. In our ongoing commitment to create a fair and legal cannabis industry, SPARC continues to be a top resources center for the cannabis industry.

California Guides on Cannabis Use

Palm Trees (by Julian Myles)
  • Cannabis FAQ (2017) — Dept of Public Health information sheet of questions and answers about cannabis use for consumers
  • Safe Use Flier (2017) — Dept of Public Health information sheet on safety precautions when using cannabis
  • What is Illegal Medical Flier (2017) — Dept of Public Health information on the penalties of illegal use and possession of medical cannabis
  • What is Legal Medical Flier (2017) — Dept of Public Health information on the legal use and possession of medical cannabis
  • What is Illegal Adult Use Flier (2017) — Dept of Public Health information on the penalties of illegal use and possession of adult use cannabis
  • What is Legal Adult Use Flier (2017) — Dept of Public Health information on the legal use and possession of adult use cannabis

SF Cannabis Social Equity Center

  • Applicant Qualifications Webpage — Link to the San Francisco Office of Cannabis list of qualifiers and documents needed for being a verified social equity applicant in SF
  • Incubator Info Webpage — Link to the San Francisco Office of Cannabis list of cannabis operators looking for social equity partners
  • Verification Webpage — Link to the San Francisco Office of Cannabis portal to apply to be a verified social equity applicant
  • Know Your Rights Webpage — Link to the San Francisco Office of Cannabis FAQ on your cannabis rights in San Francisco

Learn more about SPARC’s commitments to SF’s Cannabis Social Equity Program

SF Employment Support

  • First Source SF DEI Resources (2017) — San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development flier on the Disability Employment Initiative services offered, and locations to access the services
  • First Source SF Job Readiness Program Outline (2018) — San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development flier on Job Readiness Services provided to residents
  • OEWD Job Centers — San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development web page listing contact and location information on where to access Job Readiness services
  • OEWD Rapid Response to Layoff Program (2017) — San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development flier for SF residents that have or will be laid-off, with information on resources for getting through the layoff, and finding a new career

Learn more about career opportunities at SPARC

Social Equity Brands

Social Equity Brands we proudly support

At SPARC retail stores, we’ve always prided ourselves on connecting our customers with the best brands on the market. As part of our diverse assortment we proudly carry, support, and promote several social equity brands. Each brand has a unique story and a unique product — and we encourage you to learn more about the social equity brands that we support.

Are you a verified equity applicant with San Francisco or Oakland? Interested in vending with SPARC?

In support of San Francisco’s Equity Goals SPARC is actively looking for cannabis and cannabis products cultivated, manufactured, or distributed by Equity qualified licensees. Please fill out the questionnaire linked below for some basic information that will allow the SPARC intake team to do a preliminary review of your products. Verification of your Equity Applicant status with San Francisco or Oakland will be required and may prolong the response of our team.

Equity Approved Applicant’s Product Intake Questionnaire

Please note: valid local and state licenses and a sellers permit are required for all vendors with SPARC


DCC logo

California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) — the new State licensing agency

Governor Newsom signs Cannabis Trailer Bill, creating the Department of Cannabis Control

Statement from the DCC announcing the new agency, “The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) was established…following the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 141. DCC consolidates the three state cannabis programs – the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and CDPH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch – into a single, new state department. Governor Newsom has appointed Nicole Elliott to lead DCC as its first Director…Now that we have created a single point-of-contact, we begin the process of streamlining licensing and regulations so we can better serve Californians. We will create as much continuity and consistency as possible as we transition into DCC. Our teams will continue to serve and work with you in the same ways. We will also continue to use the current licensing systems.”

For more information:

DCC logo

DCC Equity Applicant Support

The Department of Cannabis Control has established the Equity-Local Liaison Support Unit to provide technical assistance to those who have been identified as equity applicants and licensees in their local jurisdictions. If you are an equity applicant or equity licensee, dedicated staff are available to provide you technical assistance related to the Department’s license types.

Reach out if you need help with:

  • Understanding the application requirements for a State license
  • Navigating the State license renewal process
  • Obtaining resources regarding Track-and-Trace and regulatory compliance testing
  • Learning the process for submitting business modifications or required notifications
  • Accessing resources for licensees, including fact sheets, video tutorials, and ELearning

For more information, equity applicants and equity licensees can contact the Department by phone at (833) 493-0583 option 2 or by email at 

SPARC Farms Processing Services

Late Harvest? Flower operates on it’s own schedule. Whether you’re almost done with harvest, or just starting, we can help.

Already Curing? We offer a full range of services: trimming, jarring, rolling, extraction, and more.

SPARC Farms supports equity businesses and are happy to offer 10% off services for equity licensees!

CLICK HERE for more information, or email

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The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Social Equity Scholarship Program

The scholarship is aimed at providing any social equity applicant or license-holder a one-year free membership with the NCIA, and intends to “help level the playing field by providing current and future equity operators with the networking, resources, and educational benefits offered by the nation’s largest and most established cannabis trade organization.”

For more information on NCIA, and the scholarship program please click HERE.

Checkr logo


Checkr believes a criminal sentence should never be a life sentence to unemployment. They believe that human potential should not be limited by the past, and they work to expand people’s opportunities.

To promote their mission of fair-chance hiring, they built an affordable end-to-end expungement process for candidates, which leads them from qualification to completion.

Checkr currently support expungements in California.

For more information about Checkr please click HERE.



MATTIO Communications is an award-winning, independent marketing and communications firm that serves local and national cannabis and lifestyle clients.

As reported by MATTIO Communications to WFMZ-TV 69 News on the MATTIO Voices Initiative: The initiative consists of three pillars: a pro bono program which offers at least one quarter of PR services to entrepreneurs of color or social equity licensees; High Priority, a free platform that enables brands and reputable nonprofits to reach wider audiences; and ongoing fundraising for nonprofits focused on addressing the harm perpetuated by the War on Drugs, including the Last Prisoner Project.

Learn more about MATTIO’s Pro-Bono Program.

Workforce Link SF logo

Workforce Link SF

Workforce Link SF connects job seekers with the best employment opportunities to help them achieve their career goals and economic sufficiency. They provide employers customized recruitment services to find the right talent that will grow and sustain their companies. Job seekers with different employment needs can access diverse industries and participate in the 21st century economy.

Workforce Link SF logo

Workforce Link SF Cannabis Jobs

Workforce Link SF Cannabis Jobs (2023) – San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development hiring board link. Follow this link to view search results for “cannabis jobs” posted on the OEWD website. SPARC posts all SF job openings with OEWD.

Take Action


“The Last Prisoner Project focuses on three key criminal justice reform initiatives: prisoner release, record clearing through clemency and expungement, and reentry programs. A core social justice focus is to release incarcerated cannabis prisoners. Data shows, however, that most released prisoners fail without the proper resources in place. Reentry programs reduce recidivism. A criminal record can be a significant barrier to employment, housing, financial assistance, and more, so we work to clear cannabis prisoners record, given that those acts are now legal. Collectively these programs help cannabis prisoners become ‘fully free.'”


There are many ways to change the system for the better, and one of those tools is to use your voice at the voting polls. Visit for general voting information and, for Californians, register to vote online here. Register now, make your election day game plan, ensure you cast your ballot, and make sure your voice is heard! Once you’ve done that yourself, make sure your friends and family vote, too. The key to changing policies for the better is organize and mobilize.  Together, we can use our voices to demand and create a better, fairer, more just system.

You can also contact your representatives regarding local and state issues. Find your representatives now.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; SPARC and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.