California to help support minority participation in the marijuana industry

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California government to back a program that will help minorities start their own marijuana businesses

California’s marijuana-friendly governor, Jerry Brown, has pulled out the pen to sign off on legislation that will help minorities. A state-run program will offer loans, grants and technical assistance to minorities and economically disadvantaged individuals in order for them to get into the marijuana industry, either as marijuana entrepreneurs or employees. Out of the gate, the state’s government has already allocated $10 million toward the program.

Senate Bill 1294 (S.B. 1294) was sponsored by Senator Steven Bradford. He envisioned a program that will assist municipalities with ordinances to provide financial and technical assistance to those wanting to get into the growing marijuana industry.

The bill carried several provisions, including:

– 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.

S.B. 1294 states that it was designed 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.”

As marijuana continues to help states improve their economies, programs such as those created through S.B. 1294 will go a long way to ensuring that financial independence can be achieved by a greater number of individuals. This will ultimately lead to not only improved state economies, but an improved federal economy, as well.