Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has signed legislation (S. 3096) into law that seeks to promote greater diversity among those participating in the state’s licensed cannabis industry and that lays the groundwork for the establishment of on-site cannabis consumption facilities.

Specifically, the measure creates a “Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund to encourage the full participation … of entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.” Money in the fund “shall be used to make grants and loans, including no-interest loans and forgivable loans, to social equity program participants and economic empowerment priority applicants.”

In addition, the bill provides guidance for the eventual licensing of on-site adult-use consumption facilities. Several states — such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, and New York — either regulate or make allowances for on-site consumption establishments.

Separate provisions in the bill that called on state officials to conduct a study and to make recommendations “to ensure that students have access to [the] medical use of marijuana” while they attend school were not signed into law. In recent years, lawmakers in various states, including California, Illinois, and Maryland, have enacted legislation permitting students to access medical cannabis products while on school grounds.

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