The City of Sacramento will receive $1.2 million in state funding to increase social equity in its local cannabis industry.
The Sacramento City Council on Feb. 4 voted to accept the funding from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. These funds can be used to reimburse local equity applicants — or people eligible for equity support — for certain start-up cannabis business costs, including local and state fees as well as business-related training and equipment costs.
“When it comes to the local cannabis industry, the City of Sacramento has been working diligently to level the playing field for anyone who wants to start a new business,” said Davina Smith, head of the City’s Office of Cannabis Management. “This new funding will go a long way in creating more fairness and equity and helping to right historic wrongs.”
The City Council in 2018 established the Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program to assist individuals who were negatively affected by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis-related crimes. The CORE program is designed to reduce the barriers of entry into the local cannabis industry through training, mentoring, financial and technical support and other assistance. It is administered by the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce (SACC) and the Greater Sacramento Urban League(GSUL).
Looking to further enhance equitable access to the industry, the City’s Office of Cannabis Management in August 2019 applied for the BCC’s Local Equity Grant Program and recently was awarded $1.19 million. According to BCC guidelines, these funds can be used for items including capital investments, assistance with securing business locations and payment of fees related to regulatory compliance.
Based on previous feedback from potential equity applicants, two of the primary challenges facing CORE program participants are identifying a viable business location and securing funding for application fees and other expenses, officials said. The new funding will allow the City to reimburse eligible participants for up to $25,000 for certain start-up costs.
To be eligible for the reimbursement, applicants must either be a CORE participant or eligible for the CORE program, own 51% of the proposed business and have submitted a business operating permit application to the City.
“As one of the City’s partners in its CORE program, the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce is pleased that it will continue to work with the City of Sacramento to maximize the value of the $1.2 million Cannabis Equity Grant it just received from the State of California,” said Frank Louie, SACC’s chief operating officer.
“The Bureau of Cannabis Control equity grant brings much needed resources to the City of Sacramento to further the positive impact GSUL’s Sac GreenEquity CORE program has had on new business development in cannabis,” said Cassandra Jennings, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League. “The opportunity to partner with the Mayor and the City Council on an equity and inclusion vision to implement new business creation — and to develop our next generation of industry leaders and future entrepreneurs under the CORE program — is a local hard-won gain for those communities most affected by the war on drugs and an exciting collaborative venture.”