HSU’s California Center for Rural Policy and its Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) recently helped rural communities secure nearly $5 million in cannabis equity funding.
The funding, awarded by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, in partnership with the Bureau of Cannabis Control, will allow jurisdictions to focus on the inclusion and support of individuals in California’s legal cannabis marketplace who are from communities negatively or disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization.
This is done through small business support services like technical assistance to individuals, reduced licensing fees or waived fees, assistance in recruitment, training, and retention of a qualified and diverse workforce, and business resilience such as emergency preparedness.
“Cannabis equity programs are the only feature of legal cannabis policy that remains concerned to do away with prohibition, by creating space for communities persecuted by prohibition and excluded by legalization. You can't end prohibition without including prohibition's people,” says Dominic Corva, co-director of HIIMR and the Executive Director of the Cannabis and Social Policy Center.
“A cannabis equity plan allows communities to tell the story of the impacts of cannabis criminalization. Funding for cannabis equity programs ensures that those harmed by criminalization have equal opportunity to participate in the legal cannabis industry,” says Dawn Arledge, Director of Health at the California Center for Rural Policy.
CCRP and HIIMR helped the following jurisdictions earn grants:
•County of Humboldt: $2,459,581 for cannabis equity plan implementation
•County of Mendocino: $2,245,704 for cannabis equity plan implementation
•County of Lake: $150,000 for developing a cannabis equity plan
•County of Nevada: $149,999 for developing a cannabis equity plan
•City of Clearlake: $98,890 for developing a cannabis equity plan
“This funding will help businesses get the funding they need to participate in the legal cannabis industry. Humboldt and Mendocino counties will be able to award grants and loans directly to businesses that need a leg up,” says Connie Stewart, Executive Director of the California Center for Rural Policy. “Lake and Nevada counties and the City of Clearlake will be able to craft a plan that will put them first in line for additional funding next year.”
“These Cannabis Equity Grants reflect California’s desire to lead our legalization efforts with equity and inclusivity,” said Nicole Elliott, Governor Newsom’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis.
“We applaud these jurisdictions for not only embracing the challenge of creating pathways to participate in a legitimate cannabis marketplace, but for doing so in a thoughtful way that seeks to uplift all communities. It is our hope that these efforts lead to the creation of a truly diverse industry and that these programs serve as a blueprint for others who share in our commitment to address systemic discrimination and create real prosperity for all.”