Fresno, California, creates social equity fund for marijuana entrepreneurs

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The Fresno City Council voted to establish an equity fund that would help financially assist disadvantaged marijuana business owners, the latest city among California municipalities that are trying to give a leg up in the industry to those hit hardest by the war on drugs.

The fund will disperse monies to qualified candidates, and two to four of the 16 city’s upcoming marijuana retail licenses will be awarded to social equity applicants, The Fresno Bee reported.

The city began accepting applications for the limited number of licenses in October, but no permits have been awarded by Fresno authorities, The Business Journal reported earlier this month.

The equity fund monies could be used by applicants “to help with real estate searches, building up a workforce, getting legal help and finding investors,” according to the Bee.

Many other cities around California – including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and recently San Diego County – also have varying types of social equity programs, all with goal of partial reparations for the war on drugs.