This is the second in a series of interviews with Todd Scattini and Sebastian Nassau, co-founders of Harvest 360. In this blog, Sebastian and Todd discuss Harvest 360’s Illinois-based Accelerator program. To learn more about Harvest 360’s motivation for creating cannabis Accelerator programs, check out “Accessibility Through Accelerators with Todd Scattini from Harvest 360”.
The launch of Illinois state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford’s (D-Chicago) application technical assistance program was a positive step towards ensuring that social equity applicants have a fair chance to participate in the Illinois cannabis industry.The program’s announcement came after Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the state would be conducting a “partial rescoring” of cannabis dispensary license applications in response to a lawsuit filed by social equity applicants who alleged that the state’s initial scoring process was unfair. The accelerator program was free to all qualifying social equity applicants in Illinois. Its purpose was to help applicants understand and correct the most commonly made application mistakes, improving their chances of winning a cannabis dispensary license in Illinois.
What motivated Harvest 360 to launch an Accelerator program in Illinois?
Todd: This accelerator took place at the request of Illinois State Representative Lashon Ford. This was done to help social equity applicants ensure that their enclosures for their applications met all of the requirements put forth in the state’s application.
Sebastian: We worked collaboratively with Justice Grown to put together the best guidance we could for every part of the dispensary application process. This “Cannabis Application Assistance Program” provided 200 pages of very detailed guidance to dozens of applicants.
How did it go?
Todd: This was provided as a free service and it was very well received. We created a portal that allowed applicants to provide their information and their enclosures for review. We reviewed and added the required information in order for them to be compliant.
What were your biggest takeaways from the experience?
Todd: We learned that social equity applicants typically have not had the access to the industry that we have and were surprised and intimidated by the application process. They, however, recognized and wanted to take advantage of the opportunities to impact their communities that had been so heavily impacted by the War on Drugs.
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series to learn about what led Harvest 360 to create the New Jersey Accelerator programs.