A cannabis industry trade group in Washington state on Monday proposed legislation to fund a social equity program that would help remove barriers to capital for minority business owners and would eliminate a residency requirement for potential investors in the market.
The Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) put forward the Cannabis Capital Equity Act, which would be supported by revenue generated by a fee of 1% on investments into marijuana businesses totaling over $500,000.
The fee would be in place until Dec. 31, 2025.
The act is WACA’s top legislative priority for the regulated industry in 2020.
“In order to grow a successful business, you have to have access to capital,” said Vicki Christophersen, executive director of WACA.
“The vast majority of cannabis companies in Washington are not turning a profit. Most of them are operating in the red.”
According to the WACA, the equity fund would be managed by the Washington state Department of Commerce.
The fund would offer low-interest loans to prospective and current license holders representing a diversity of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.
“Five years since legalization, we continue to see persistent under-representation of people of color, women and others for whom the door of opportunity has not been open as wide,” Christophersen said.
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Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]