As cannabis prohibition and criminalization has negatively impacted many Californians and California communities, the state’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) partnered with the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) to provide $15 million in grant funding to help those caught in the sightlines of the war on drugs, building upon the $40 million in cannabis equity funding previously awarded by the state.
GO-Biz and BCC announced Monday that the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions will distribute the funds. The grants program works to improve economic justice for populations and communities impacted by cannabis prohibition by providing funding to local jurisdictions committed to promoting equity in the legal cannabis marketplace and eliminating barriers to entering the regulated cannabis industry.
Individuals convicted of a cannabis offense have a hard time entering the cannabis industry due to lack of resources, including the capital, business space, technical support and regulatory compliance assistance, the release states.
The jurisdictions will use the funding to advance cannabis equity programs, part of a broader effort to create a diverse legal industry. It will also aid program applicants and licensees by providing waived or reduced licensing fees, low- or no-interest loans or grants, and technical assistance like one-on-one consulting, training and navigation assistance with cannabis licensing and regulatory requirements, according to the release.
“As we work to safely reopen our economy, leading with equity across all sectors will ensure a just recovery and further our commitment to create a truly diverse legal industry,” said Nicole Elliott, senior adviser on cannabis to Gov. Gavin Newsom. “These efforts stand as a testament to our values as a state, and I applaud the work being done by these jurisdictions as they thoughtfully embrace this challenge.”
And the state’s previous funding efforts have made a memorable impact on businesses. The CEO of Green Peakz, Jessie Grundy, said the California Cannabis Equity grant he received was “one of the best things to happen to his company.”
“California investing in Californians is key to equity work,” Grundy said. “Thank you to the team at GO-Biz for doing more than just helping us get licenses, but also investing in equity companies being successful.”
More than $14 million of the fund will be allocated for Cannabis Equity program applicants and licensees and the remaining $547,000 will be used for program development and assessments.
To access a complete list of grant recipients for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, click here.