Colorado has one of the oldest standing recreational cannabis markets in America, and most recently, the House approved a reform to increase marijuana’s legal possession limit. The state’s governor also signed legislation to set up a social equity finance program for the marijuana landscape.
On Sunday, Jared Polis( colorado’s governor) visited a Denver-based cannabis dispensary to sign a reform that would launch a measure in the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The initiative is meant to aid marijuana ventures owned by individuals who acquire social equity licenses; basically, folks hardest hit by the failed Drug War.
Based on a reform summary, it will offer loans to such individuals for ‘continuous business expenses and seed capital’ and grants for job creation and innovation. It also avails technical support for cannabis business owners.
The initiative will be allocated $4 million from Colorado’s cannabis tax fund (that figure is $1 million short of what Jared requested 60 days ago). The proposal was drafted after consultation with an association of minority-owned marijuana ventures(Black Brown and Red Badged-BBRB).
Before signing the bill, the governor said that the state’s war against cannabis affects Black and Brown people disproportionately, reducing their access to a regulated and legal sector in Colorado.
He added that the legislation is essential because the state Small Business Administration (SBA) prohibits state resources from supporting organizations that run in lawful cannabis space. Polis further said that Colorado is working to tackle that issue.
In 2020, the governor signed a different policy that offers a statewide classification of marijuana social equity license holders. Those ventures are now going to merit from the recent bill primarily.
Hashim Coates (Executive Director at BBRB) said that equity in marijuana is about creating new opportunities and the ability to take advantage of those opportunities.