Proposition 207, which passed in November 2020, legalizing adult use marijuana requires that Arizona “promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana testing facilities by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”
In subsequent rules, the Arizona Department of Health Services mandated the participation in classes to ensure that social equity applicants are prepared for the application process and the challenges of running a marijuana business. The social equity ownership program is intended to promote the ownership and operation of licensed Marijuana Establishments by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.
Private Organization / Non-profit
Authorizes the Bureau of Cannabis Control to provide technical assistance, grant funding to local equity programs and report to the Legislature about local social equity program progress
The City of Coachella is establishing a pilot social equity program dedicated to aiding individuals and businesses that were negatively or disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization within the City of Coachella. The goal of the program will be to allow participants to gain entry and successfully operate in the State of California’s regulated cannabis marketplace and economy.
Municipal Code § 9-3316(b): Cannabis Social Equity Program
The purpose of the social equity program is to address the historical impact of federal and state drug enforcement policies on low-income communities. Fresno started accepting applications for this program in October of 2021, but no licenses have been issued as of January 2021.
Fresno Community Reinvestment Fund
The fund will support local equity businesses in the area of workforce development, access to affordable commercial real estate, access to investment financing, and access to legal services and business administration technical assistance. Businesses are encouraged to consider this in the development of their community benefits and investment plan.
Make Green Go
Make Green Go!, LLC has been selected to provide technical assistance to Social Equity Applicants in Fresno. This assistance is only for a verified equity applicant or qualified partner of an applicant.
Humboldt County Project Trellis Local Equity Program
The County of Humboldt Cannabis Business Micro-grant, Marketing, and Local Equity Program, commonly referred to as ‘Project Trellis’ provides resources to local communities and individuals who have been impacted by the War on Drugs. The Cannabis Business Micro-grant program diverts the County’s Measure S funding and provides cannabis businesses an opportunity to apply for funding to cover business related expenditures. The Marketing and Promotion component is designed to promote and maintain Humboldt grown cannabis as a national and industry brand.
California (Lake County)
Lake County is developing a Social Equity program intended to prioritize Social Equity Applicants, ensure a proper ratio of equity to non-equity applicants, and encourage provisional approval of licenses. This program is not live yet, as of January 2021, but more information can be found below.
CALIFORNIA (LONG BEACH)
The goal of the Cannabis Social Equity Program is to recognize and address the long-term impact that federal and state cannabis enforcement policies have had on low income communities in the City of Long Beach. The Equity Program is designed to support equal opportunity in the cannabis industry by making legal cannabis business ownership and employment opportunities more accessible to low income individuals and communities most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
Private Organization / Non-profit
CALIFORNIA (LOS ANGELES)
The City of Los Angeles established its Social Equity Program as one tool to acknowledge and repair the harm caused by the War on Drugs and the disparate enforcement of cannabis prohibition. The mission of the Social Equity Program is to promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities. Additionally, the city of Los Angeles established the Social Equity Entrepreneur Development Grant Program (SEED) Grant Program to provide financial assistance to verified Social Equity Individual Applicants.
Private Organizations / Non-profits:
LASER (Los Angeles Social Equity Reform)/Growing Talent
LASER’S highest priority is promoting equitable ownership within the cannabis industry. LASER assists equity partners with the licensing process, property procurement, compliance training, business development, and more. LASER is the first minority-led cannabis company serving cannabis entrepreneurs nationwide.
NDICA Los Angeles Social Equity Program
Our team aligns with innovative thinkers and leaders to create guidance and mentorship for the markets we serve. By bringing together government agencies, industry leaders, practitioners and intellectuals through forums, expungement clinics, trainings, think tanks and a thriving online community, NDICA provides the necessary technical expertise and resources to succeed in the cannabis and non-cannabis industries.
Nu Project’s mission is to build intergenerational wealth via the legal cannabis industry for the communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization – Black, Indigenous, and Latina/o/x communities. Nu Project’s programs are designed to increase success outcomes for people of color in the cannabis industry either as business owners or professionals.
Nu Project’s work is specifically designed to address three most common equity hurdles for all marginalized groups when starting a business or a professional career: capital, education/exposure, and connection. Nu Project provides funding for cannabis businesses, skill-building and mentoring for entrepreneurs and professionals, national and state equity policy development and advocacy.
The Social Impact Center
The Social Impact Center is a hub for organizers and serves as a bridge between government, grass-roots organizations, and people. We empower underserved communities by developing leaders through education, storytelling, and community building.
California (Mendocino County)
The Mendocino County Local Equity Grant Program aims to provide funding and services for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs by lowering barriers to cannabis permitting and licensing. In 2020, Mendocino County was awarded $2.2 million from the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions, and in addition, the Board of Supervisors has allocated $100,000 matching grant dollars to support the program. The purpose of the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions is to advance economic justice for populations and communities impacted by cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs (WoD) by providing support to local jurisdictions as they promote equity in California and eliminate barriers to enter the newly regulated cannabis industry for equity program applicants and licensees.
City of Oakland Equity Loan and Grant Program
This program offers both grants and 0% interest four-year loans to Oakland Verified Equity Applicants who fulfill the program criteria.
City of Oakland Equity Permit Program
The City’s groundbreaking Equity Permit Program is designed to minimize barriers to cannabis licensing for those who have been the most victimized by the war on drugs. An eligible Equity applicant is an Oakland resident who either has a cannabis conviction in Oakland after November 5, 1996 or has lived for 10 of the last 20 years in the police beats with disproportionately higher number of cannabis-related arrests
Gaining Resources to Achieve Sustainable Success (GRASS)
GRASS is a business coaching program modeled after programs implemented by other capital providers such as micro-lenders and equity investors who seek to ensure growth and success is achieved by the entrepreneurs they fund.
Private organizations / Non-profits:
Gateway is a full immersion business accelerator and seed investment program born out of Silicon Valley and located in the capital of cannabis advocacy and innovation.
The Hood Incubator
The Hood Incubator builds a pipeline of opportunity and organizing so that Black people can lead at the center of the legalization process. We accomplish this through three intersecting strategies: Building a Movement, Economic Development and Community Education.
Medisi Ventures is the first Social Impact Enterprise reimagining cannabis culture-from policy to profit, to the consumption experience.
We provide development and consulting services to those looking to pursue sustainable and socially impactful cannabis ventures. Our strength is in creating cross-sector alliances that promote socio-economic progression.
Supernova Women is a women of color led non-profit organization with a mission to empower people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry. We do this through education, advocacy, and network building. Our organization was founded in 2015 by Amber Senter, Nina Parks, and Tsion “Sunshine” Lencho. Andrea Unsworth joined the Supernova Women board of directors in early 2016. Supernova Women is a national organization headquartered in Oakland, California.
California (Palm Springs)
Individuals who quality for the Equity Program and want to open an adult-use cannabis business in Palm Springs are eligible to receive benefits and assistance to help navigate the City’s application and permitting process. To qualify for the Equity Program, individuals must be verified as Equity Applicants by the Department of Special Program Compliance and have a minimum 51% ownership of the entity that will apply for an Adult-Use Cannabis Related and Business Permit.
California (Rio Dell)
The goal of the Rio Dell Cannabis Local Equity Program is to recognize and address the long-term impact that federal and state cannabis enforcement policies have had on our community.
The Equity Program is designed to support equal opportunity in the cannabis industry by making legal cannabis business ownership and employment opportunities more accessible to low income individuals and communities most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
The Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) Program is a program created to assist individuals and communities who are facing barriers to starting cannabis businesses due to the historically disparate enforcement of cannabis crimes.
The Sacramento Grow Green program provides training and support to individuals and communities who are facing barriers when trying to enter the cannabis industry due to the historical disparate enforcement of cannabis crimes. Their goal is to create pathways for diverse communities to be able to establish new cannabis businesses, have support during the transition of existing cannabis businesses into the legal market, and help connect individuals to job opportunities within the industry.
GSUL has an established history of enabling underserved communities and vulnerable populations secure economic self-reliance through advocacy, services related to workforce preparation, employment assistance, education and literacy, and economic development.
California (San Diego)
The San Diego County Social Equity Program will allow individuals with past cannabis arrests and/or convictions, of low-income, and of communities with high arrest rates or “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” to have greater opportunities for securing a County operating permit. The program will inform the commercial cannabis ordinances, regulations, and programs that will work to repair the historic harm caused by the prior criminalization of marijuana and effect socially just and equitable outcomes.
CALIFORNIA (SAN FRANCISCO)
Established a fee waiver for social equity applicants and an incubation partnership program providing free rent for 3 years or technical assistance to social equity businesses
Article 16 of the Police Code, Article 8A and Article 33 of the Health Code, Chapter 96B, Section 10.100-162 of the Administrative Code
Equity Session’s objective is to ensure that the Equity Program thrives in San Francisco by providing the foundation and framework needed for success. That includes ensuring that their equity applicants have access to business training, good jobs, safe funding, and strategic partnerships, as well as making sure that equity incubator businesses are connected to the community through various community outreach programs.
Supernova Women is a women of color led non-profit organization with a mission to empower people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry through education, advocacy, and network building. The organization was founded in 2015, and a national organization headquartered in Oakland, California.
Success Centers works to ensure that marginalized community members have opportunities to enter the cannabis industry. Our programs help employers and job candidates meet the equity mandate, as delineated in San Francisco’s legislation. Local and state policymakers are seeking to use the emerging cannabis industry as an opportunity for economic social justice, training people from communities of color in the skills required to be certified for work in the sector. Equity for Industry aims to be a model for other cities and jurisdictions throughout California.
California (San Jose)
San Jose Cannabis Equity Assistance Program
Section 6.88.395 of the Municipal Code creates and defines the Equity Assistance Program.
San Jose accepted a $150,000 loan from the California State government to create an Equity Assistance Program in cannabis. As of 2021, that program had not been implemented. All cannabis licensing is handled by the San Jose Police Department.
California (Santa Cruz)
The Santa Cruz Cannabis Equity Program received funding from the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions. The program focuses 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.
The City of Stockton Equity Program will issue half of their city permits to Equity Applicants through a lottery system for Retail Storefronts, Cultivation, Volatile Manufacturing, and Micro-businesses. Applicants are eligible for the Equity pool of the lottery if they are a resident of Stockton, 50% owner of the business, and are either MBE, WBE, live in SB 535, HUD-designated area, or an Opportunity Zone.
First approved by the City Council in 2019, the equity program was put in place to help and support small business owners in the competitive cannabis industry. In order to apply for the program, a person must meet three of nine requirements. Requirements include: having attended a Pajaro Valley Unified School District school for at least five years, having been negatively impacted in a disproportionate way by cannabis criminalization or being “economically disadvantaged.”
Social Equity Applicant Program & Accelerator Program
Passed in 2020, Colorado House Bill HB20-1424 established a social equity licensee classification and defined Social Equity Applicants. A person who meets the eligibility criteria for a Social Equity Licensee can participate in the Division’s “Accelerator Program” or may apply to independently own and operate a Regulated Marijuana Business license.
In April 2021, Denver passed a series of city council bills establishing a social equity program. Amongst other provisions, it adopts the definition and criteria for Social Equity Applicants established by the Colorado legislature in House Bill 20-1424.
Black Cannabis Equity Initiative (BCEI)
BCEI is a community driven initiative of concerned black citizens and business leaders focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion opportunity in the Denver metro and Colorado’s cannabis industry. BCEI was created in 2019 to promote progressive sustainable dialogue, community engagement and action around fairness and opportunity in the statewide cannabis landscape.
Colorado groups, including kindColorado, Cannabis Doing Good and Sensible Colorado, are partnering on a new Cannabis Impact Fund effort to raise money in support of social and criminal justice organizations such as Black Futures Lab, The Bail Project, Color of Change and the Minority Cannabis Business Association.
The Cannabis Impact Fund’s pillars are racial justice, environmental sustainability and community engagement. This new Impact Fund allows them to focus the next 12 months solely on racial justice efforts within and outside of cannabis, a privilege and opportunity they are excited to grow in partnership with our Founding Members, Pledge Partners and community donors.
As more entrepreneurs and companies enter or expand into the cannabis space, they face the traditional business challenges of operational efficiency, regulatory compliance and market penetration. In addition, most don’t have an experienced team or tools needed to attract the capital needed to get started. Our team helps you summarize ideas, initiatives and activities aimed towards making your business better. This includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion, increasing profitability by building strategic partnerships, making strategic business decisions and assisting with capital raise support.
The Color of Cannabis was founded out of the urgent need to have more representation of minorities in the industry. Advocating openly, unapologetically, and responsibly for people of color to participate in the regulated market is work that cannot be neglected. The regulated cannabis industry presents an opportunity for minorities to build generational wealth and the community must be educated on the opportunities.
There is a negative stigma around the “social equity” applicant. The cannabis industry has many participants who never experienced growing up in neighborhoods where The Anti-Drug Abuse Act was enforced. These communities suffered violence, corruption, and policing that had, and still has no regard for the generational impact of mass incarceration. The industry tends to believe in the narrative that social equity applicants are poor people, under-educated, have a criminal background, and have no sense of business acumen. The Color of Cannabis is focused on changing that narrative!
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Establishes tax revenue reinvestment, creates job opportunities for residents most affected by prohibition and automatic record sealing within one year for most offences
Florida currently has four provisions that arguably provide for some level of social equity in the marijuana industry: (1) reserving one of the ten licenses that were supposed to be available in 2017 for a Black farmer that was a class member of Pigford v. Glickman 185 F.R.D 82 (D.D.C. 1999); (2) requiring applicants to have strong diversity plans; (3) requiring applicants’ management, ownership, and employment to reflect an involvement of minorities and veterans (a similar provision is included in SB210, a bill recently proposed by Senator Thurston); and (4) allocating $10 of the identification card fee to the Division of Research at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University for the purpose of educating minorities about marijuana for medical use and the impact of the unlawful use of marijuana on minority communities.
Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Inc. (M4MM) is organized as a non profit organization with its corporate office based in Orlando Florida. The organization is structured as a 501c3 with a full Executive Team and Board of Directors who support the organization’s overall goals and strategic direction. The organization was established in May 2016 and currently has 27 state directors throughout the country. M4MM’s mission is focused on providing advocacy, outreach, research, and training as it relates to the business, social reform, public policy, and health /wellness in the cannabis industry.
Pursuant to the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (“CRTA”) 410 ILCS 705, cannabis became legal for adult use in Illinois on January 1, 2020. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) mission under the CRTA is to develop accessible opportunities for technical assistance and access to capital for persons seeking to participate in the Illinois cannabis business industry, subject to appropriations from the Cannabis Business Development Fund.
As part of these efforts, DCEO has developed a network of technical assistance providers that are available to assist social equity applicants in their quest to procure and retain a cannabis business license. Additionally, DCEO established the Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program for the purposes of providing financial assistance to social equity applicants.
Through its Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Program, DCEO is committed to connecting persons and communities that have been historically impacted by arrests and imprisonment for cannabis offenses to have opportunities to participate in the legal cannabis industry.
Subject to appropriations from the Cannabis Business Development Fund (CBDF), DCEO established the Social Equity Loan Program for the purposes of providing financial assistance to social equity applicants. Through this loan program, DCEO is able to offer low-interest loans to qualified social equity applicants applying for available licenses.
When a social equity applicant has been awarded a conditional license under the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (CRTA) to operate a cannabis business establishment, they are considered a “qualified social equity applicant.” Only qualified social equity applicants are eligible for social equity loans and grants from appropriations from the Cannabis Business Development Fund.
Founded by Ron Holmes and Kareem Kenyatta, both natives of Chicago’s South Side, The Majority-Minority Group is a value-driven company that aims to create more minority-owned businesses. The company’s first stated mission is to put more color in the cannabis industry by helping minority and female applicants not just win cannabis licenses but also run successful businesses.
Holmes and Kenyatta, using a combined 25 years of experience in state government and politics, assisted in negotiating Illinois’ cannabis legalization legislation, hailed as the most social equity-driven cannabis law in the country. Holmes served as the lead lobbyist for The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, a trade association representing cultivation centers and dispensary organizations. Kenyatta lobbied on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the largest organization in the United States to focus on enacting humane marijuana laws.
While lobbying on behalf of the adult-use of cannabis in Illinois, Holmes and Kenyatta realized that cannabis legalization is more than an issue of racial and social justice for those disproportionately harmed by America’s drug war — it is also a business imperative in which people of color should and must participate.
Prioritizes licensing for disadvantaged groups and diversity, social and economic equity factors into account when scoring license applications, and training and assistance to small, minority and women business owners and entrepreneurs
The Social Equity Program (SEP) creates sustainable pathways into the cannabis industry for individuals most impacted by the War on Drugs, marijuana prohibition, disproportionate arrest, and incarceration. The free, statewide technical assistance and training program provides participants with education, skill-based training, and tools for success in the industry across four areas: entrepreneurship, managerial-level workforce development, re-entry and entry-level workforce development, and ancillary business support.
One of her main focuses now is EON (Equitable Opportunities Now), a non-profit that fights to preserve the equity provisions in Massachusetts cannabis laws. It is about creating equal opportunities for businesses and people looking to receive licenses for their cannabis companies/projects.
Established since the legalization of cannabis in 2017, Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council is a BIPOC, women, queer founded and cooperatively ran nonprofit that educates consumers on how to decolonize the weed and advocates for restorative justice for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War On Drugs.
Cambridge has established an ordinance to create a separate local permitting requirement for Cannabis Retail Store, Cannabis Cultivator, Cannabis Product Manufacturer and/or Cannabis Transporter, and will give initial permitting preferences for Cannabis Businesses to Priority Applicants. Priority Applicants include Economic Empowerment Applicants, defined and certified by the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission, and Social Equity Program Applicants (Cambridge residents of at least the previous three years, Women or Minority Owned businesses, or a Cambridge resident for at least the three previous years prior to application earning less than fifty percent of Area Median Income in the three previous tax years prior to application).
Somerville has issued an amended Adult Use Marijuana License ordinance which includes Priority Applicants, defined as those person(s) or entities who are at least one of the following: An Economic Empowerment Applicant (certified by the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission), owned by a Somerville resident(s) or entities with at least 50% of its ownership made up of Somerville residents, or cooperatively owned entities. There also must be a majority of licenses awarded to priority applicants.
Michigan’s Social Equity Program is available to promote and encourage participation in the marijuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities.
The Joint Ventura Pathway Program (JVPP) will connect eligible social equity participants – and those seeking to become social equity participants – with adult-use licensees, potential adult-use licensees, and any businesses that wish to work with social equity participants interested in pursuing partnerships, including joint business ventures, mentorships, incubator programs and employment.
*Detroit Legacy program on hold
NO SOCIAL EQUITY PROVISIONS
New Jersey’s Assembly Bill 21 (NJ A21) legalizes personal use cannabis for certain adults (subject to State regulation), decriminalizes small amount marijuana and hashish possession, and removes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. The law also establishes an Office of Minority, Disabled Veterans, and Women [Medical] Cannabis Business Development, which will focus on “promoting participation by persons from socially and economically disadvantaged communities, including by prospective and existing ownership of minority businesses and women’s businesses.” Additionally, the law requires at least 70% of all tax revenues on retail sales to go to investments, including grants, loans, reimbursement of expenses, and other financial assistance, to municipalities defined as “impact zones,” or, “any census tract that ranks in the top 33 percent of census tracts in the State for marijuana-related arrests and that ranks in the bottom 33 percent of census tracts in the State for median household income.”
NJ A21 also requires the commission to conduct a disparity study to determine whether race-based measures should be considered when issuing permits, and the commission shall seek to issue at least 30% of the total number of new medical cannabis cultivator permits, medical cannabis manufacturer permits, and medical cannabis dispensary permits as follows: at least 15% of the total number of permits must be issued to certified minority businesses; and at least 15% of the total number of permits must be issued to certified women’s businesses or disabled-veterans’ businesses. The commission shall grant a higher preference to applicants with up to two of those certifications. Minority businesses are defined here and are explicitly race-based.
15% of medical licenses to economically disadvantaged groups
Oregon currently does not have a statewide social equity program. Portland’s Social Equity & Educational Development (SEED) Grant Fund is the first program in the United States to integrate equity programming within a cannabis regulatory office. In alignment with the Ballot Measure 26-180 passed in 2016, the SEED Grant Fund prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and women led/owned small business initiatives and/or projects, programs or services that support economic and educational development of Black and brown communities, which were most impacted by cannabis prohibition.
Established need for medical marijuana program policies to ensure equal opportunity for diverse groups in permitting & equitable access for diverse groups to enter the workforce, calls for the Department of Health to provide outreach to diverse groups, encourages applicants to work with diverse groups and requires a diversity plan for licensing that is responsible for 10% of the total points
NO SOCIAL EQUITY PROVISIONS
NO SOCIAL EQUITY PROVISIONS