Oregon marijuana group awards grants to startups

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NuLeaf awards $30,000 to two Portland African-American owned cannabis businesses

The NuLeaf Project in Oregon has chosen two companies that will receive grants to operate in the cannabis space. The project, which is financed through Prosper Portland with tax revenue from the city, is an endeavor created to boost entrepreneurship in certain communities that have a history of suffering due to cannabis prohibition. In total, the two companies will receive $30,000 in tax-funded grants.

Green Box is the first of the two to receive the grant. It was founded in 2016 by Adrian Wayman, a local African-American entrepreneur. The company delivers cannabis products throughout the area and the money will help Wayman, who serves as Green Box’s CEO, to hire his first employee.

The second company is Green Hop. It opened its Northeast Portland store last year and celebrates the connection between hip-hop and cannabis. The company has also won $95,155 from Portland to offer a workforce incubator pilot program.

According to Jeannette Ward Horton, NuLeaf’s project director, “The business case for investing in cannabis business owned by people of color is strong. Well-positioned businesses operating in the world’s fastest growing industry can realize explosive growth with the capital to fuel that growth.”

For the fiscal year 2017-18, Portland received $3.6 million in cannabis tax revenue. That revenue is generated from a 3% local tax assessed on all cannabis sales. Other money received from the tax went to Portland’s Vision Zero street safety program ($1.47 million) and the Portland Police Bureau ($913,000).