Colorado lawmakers pass cannabis social equity measure

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

A Colorado bill that would set aside cannabis social equity licenses for prospective entrepreneurs and give them a leg up in getting started sailed through the state Legislature and was sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Under the legislation, social equity license holders would qualify for mentorship programs and financial incentives to help get their business off the ground.

Introduced only a week ago after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, House Bill 20-1424 changes the term “accelerator licensee” to “social equity licensee” in the state’s marijuana regulations.

If signed by Gov. Jared Polis, a social equity licensee could participate in the state’s accelerator program, which provides mentorship opportunities and financial incentives for prospective cannabis entrepreneurs.

The idea behind the accelerator program: A social equity licensee would get hands-on training from a veteran retailer, processor or cultivator at the business owner’s facility.

The licensee also could receive financial incentives from the state’s revenue department or the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

In addition, the Colorado Senate added an amendment that would clarify a process to have convictions for possessing up to 2 ounces of marijuana expunged from a person’s record and allow that person to apply for a cannabis business license.

For a sampling of organizations and efforts that support, foster and enhance social equity in the cannabis industry as well as opportunities for minorities, overall diversity and racial justice, click here