California approves statewide social equity program for cannabis industry

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California marijuana social equity, California approves statewide social equity program for cannabis industry

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation this week that will set up a state-run program aimed at widening participation among minorities and economically disadvantaged individuals in the marijuana industry, either as business owners or employees.

Senate Bill 1294, sponsored by Sen. Steven Bradford, a Democrat from Gardena, will set up a state program to assist municipalities with equity ordinances in providing loans, grants and technical assistance to would-be entrepreneurs and employees. Lawmakers have allotted $10 million for the assistance, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Here are some of the bill’s provisions:

  • Develop with experts a model equity ordinance that will be published on the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s website by July 1, 2019.
  • Serve as a point of contact for local equity programs and assist in the administration and in raising capital for those programs. Several municipalities in California already have social equity programs for the marijuana industry.
  • Provide loans or grants to local equity applicants or licensees for startup and ongoing costs, such as rent, application and licensing fees, equipment, capital improvements and workforce training.
  • Provide direct technical assistance to local equity applicants and licensees.

The bill stipulates that the Legislature’s intent is to “ensure that persons most harmed by cannabis criminalization and poverty be offered assistance to enter the multibillion-dollar industry as entrepreneurs or as employees with high-quality, well-paying jobs.”