In 2018, the California State Legislature passed SB1294, a bill aimed at reducing barriers to entry into the legal cannabis market for those who have been impacted the most by prohibition.
Also known as the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018, the bill offered technical support, regulatory compliance assistance, and help acquiring the initial funds to start a cannabis business.
The bill stated that arrests, convictions, and long-term collateral consequences fell upon Black and Latino people disproportionately during prohibition while the rate of use was nearly identical across all races.
SB1294 cited data from the California Department of Justice from 2006 to 2015 showing that Black Californians were five times more likely to be arrested for cannabis felonies than White Californians and Latino Californians were 35 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana crimes.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) announced on Wednesday that it is accepting applications for grant funding through local equity programs as authorized by the Equity Act.
“We’re excited to release the equity grant application process for local jurisdictions,” said BCC Chief Lori Ajax. “This funding is a substantial step toward supporting and encouraging equity applicants and licensees with entry into California’s commercial cannabis industry.”
A total of $10 million has been appropriated to the BCC to award to cities and counties to assist applicants and licensees through local equity programs focusing on inclusion and support for those impacted negatively and disproportionately by prohibition.
Eligible local jurisdictions that apply for grants in a timely manner will be awarded a minimum of 100,000 unless a lesser amount is requested.
For consideration, applications must be submitted online between July 31, 2019, and August 31, 2019.
Grant funds will be awarded no later than June 30, 2020.