$28.5 Million In Social Equity Grants Awarded In California

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development on Thursday announced the awarding of $28.5 million in grant money to various organizations throughout California to assist communities that have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.

The funds are courtesy of cannabis tax revenue created by the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64) in 2016 and are granted through the California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program.

Governor Gavin Newsom says that there is a responsibility to address the multi-generational impact of the War on Drugs that has affected communities across the state.

Newsom says that the CalCRG program demonstrates California’s commitment to such a responsibility and ensures that the state’s cannabis marketplace stays seated in social justice.

“Out of decades of misguided drug policies, California is now building a cannabis regulatory framework that literally invests in social justice,” said Newsom’s senior advisor on cannabis, Nicole Elliott. “As we continue to build our legal cannabis marketplace, one of this Administration’s priorities is ensuring that revenues generated from the legal market are redistributed to those communities that have borne the brunt of being over-policed and under-resourced.”

The grants will be awarded to community-based nonprofit organizations and local health departments to fund job placement, system navigation services, legal services to address reentry barriers, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, and linkages to medical care.

La Clinica de La Raza, Inc. CEO Jane Garcia says that their patient population is mostly comprised of low-income communities of color that have endured discriminatory policies stemming from the War on Drugs and that the funding will help advance the health of communities that have been affected the most.

The CalCRG program is funded by cannabis excise taxes imposed by Revenue and Taxation Code 34011 and cultivation taxes imposed by Code 34012.

With the generation of sufficient tax proceeds, the grant program should have $30 million for grants in the 2020-21 fiscal year, $40 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year, and $50 million each following year.