By Erika D. Smith

If you’re worried about wealthy investors turning Sacramento’s homegrown cannabis industry into California’s first outpost for Big Marijuana, you should be. In fact, right about now you should be panicking.

Once again, the City Council has delayed approving a set of programs that would help cash-strapped, small businesses — particularly those run by black entrepreneurs — establish a foothold in the cannabis industry before it’s too late. And this time around, the delay, which will last until August, can be traced to three people who should be doing everything in their power to speed up the process.

I'm talking about Allen Warren, Larry Carr and Rick Jennings. The only black members of the Sacramento City Council.

The three of them certainly talk a good game about wanting to create a cannabis equity program for their constituents, many of whom are poor people of color. But the ignorance, laziness and disinterest that they've displayed about this issue so far — an issue that has been laid out in publicly available staff reports for months — speaks volumes more.

Take the last Tuesday's council meeting. Warren, Carr and Jennings actually tried to bluff their way through a public hearing on a ordinance that would've made it easier for entrepreneurs to afford a license to open a cannabis business.

If approved, it would be an essential component of the city’s long-debated cannabis equity program, known as CORE, which would right the wrongs of the drug war by offering financial assistance to black and brown businesspeople who live in struggling neighborhoods, mostly within districts represented by Warren, Carr and Jennings.

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