Small entrepreneurs squeezed out of Oakland’s cannabis equity program

His business, HigherVeda Medicinals, a manufacturer of cannabis edibles, closed its doors because the company, formerly known as Swerve Confections, didn’t have a permit to operate in Oakland on Jan. 1, the day adult-use marijuana sales became legal in California.

HigherVeda, which produced edibles such as Buzz Bar, an energy snack, is one of the first of what could be dozens of casualties of Oakland’s equity program. The program reserves permits for people who were convicted of a marijuana-related offense in Oakland; earn an income that’s less than 80 percent of the city’s average median income (the average median income is $68,200 for one person in 2017); or have lived for 10 of the past 20 years in an East or West Oakland neighborhood that saw a disproportionately high number of cannabis arrests.