Seattle legislation targets greater cannabis equity

Seattle city officials introduced three bills they said seek to enhance cannabis equity efforts. © Shutterstock Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently joined Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8 – Citywide) in proposing a suite of bills that advocate for a more diverse industry while supporting cannabis store workers. “For a thriving Seattle economy, every worker and […]

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Seattle city officials introduced three bills they said seek to enhance cannabis equity efforts.

© Shutterstock

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently joined Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8 – Citywide) in proposing a suite of bills that advocate for a more diverse industry while supporting cannabis store workers.

“For a thriving Seattle economy, every worker and business deserve safety and the opportunity to learn, grow, and prosper,” Harrell said. “As the cannabis industry continues to develop, we must course correct and support the communities who too often have been left behind. Equity in this industry means safe working conditions and fair treatment for workers, store ownership that includes the communities most impacted by the war on drugs, and a commitment to fairness, innovation and opportunity.”

Bill provisions, per authorities, include establishing a city-level social equity license to reduce barriers toward opening cannabis stores for underrepresented communities and those impacted by the war on drugs; setting a foundation for future cannabis-related businesses, in collaboration with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board as a means of issuing licenses via a social equity framework; requiring a 90-day retention of store workforce when ownership changes; and creating a short-term cannabis advisory committee selected in conjunction with the Seattle City Council as part of an effort to collect cannabis equity feedback from workers, community members and industry leaders.

“After years of community asking for greater equity in the cannabis industry, this legislation represents an initial step in the right direction towards creating local equity applications, improving workforce standards, and focusing on safety for workers in the cannabis industry,” Mosqueda said.

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Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency promotes DEI efforts of cannabis industry licensees

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced the first approved gold qualifier, Pharmhouse Wellness, through the Social Equity All-Star Program, a new initiative encouraging cannabis industry licensees to include proactive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) campaigns.© Shutterstock The CRA has also revealed the first 20 bronze qualifiers through the program, outlining the development, publishing, and […]

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The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced the first approved gold qualifier, Pharmhouse Wellness, through the Social Equity All-Star Program, a new initiative encouraging cannabis industry licensees to include proactive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) campaigns.

© Shutterstock

The CRA has also revealed the first 20 bronze qualifiers through the program, outlining the development, publishing, and implementation of social equity plans, corporate spend plans, and community reinvestment plans.

“Pharmhouse Wellness has done a tremendous job with their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, as well as their strong community reinvestment,” CRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said. “Our 20 new bronze qualifiers also have shown a commitment to invest time and money in initiatives to help those who were disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. This new recognition program acknowledges the important work our licensees are doing in the social equity space, and I’m excited to see it continue to grow.”

Social Equity All-Star Program participation is incentivized through state-issued bronze, silver, and gold social equity seals that are slated to be used as identifiers in a tiered recognition system to recognize licensees’ social equity involvement, per authorities.

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North Carolina secures nearly $202M in federal funds through State Small Business Credit Initiative

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said North Carolina has secured up to $201.9 million through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to operate three different programs.© Shutterstock The effort would include a loan participation program in which $160 million has been earmarked. The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, an endeavor initially […]

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury said North Carolina has secured up to $201.9 million through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to operate three different programs.

© Shutterstock

The effort would include a loan participation program in which $160 million has been earmarked. The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, an endeavor initially established 12 years ago and was successful in increasing small business capital access.

“This historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation funded by the American Rescue Plan will help reduce barriers to capital access for traditionally underserved communities across the state,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said. “I was glad to have an opportunity to hear from North Carolina small business owners and financial institutions during my visit today and look forward to seeing the impact these funds have in promoting equitable economic growth in North Carolina.”

The program aids lenders with the process of engaging small business lending while providing support to underserved businesses.

The state has partnered with the North Carolina Rural Center to administer the program to support communities in revitalizing central business districts, bolstering neighborhoods, and supporting economic growth.

“The State Small Business Credit Initiative provides vital support for our small businesses, particularly for those who often face challenges in accessing capital,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “I’m excited to see how this next round of funding will help many of our state’s small, women- and minority-owned businesses across our rural communities grow and become more resilient.”

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Illinois sees spike in tax revenue from sales of adult-use cannabis in fiscal 2022

The State of Illinois saw a massive 50 percent increase in total tax reported from adult-use cannabis over the past year.© Shutterstock Specifically, tax revenue went from $297.7 million in fiscal year 2021 to $445.3 million in fiscal year 2022. Overall, total adult-use cannabis sales also rose 50 percent, increasing from $1 billion in 2021 […]

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The State of Illinois saw a massive 50 percent increase in total tax reported from adult-use cannabis over the past year.

© Shutterstock

Specifically, tax revenue went from $297.7 million in fiscal year 2021 to $445.3 million in fiscal year 2022. Overall, total adult-use cannabis sales also rose 50 percent, increasing from $1 billion in 2021 to $1.5 billion in 2022. In addition, cannabis tax disbursements to local governments jumped 77 percent, from $82.8 million in fiscal year 2021 to $146.2 million in fiscal year 2022.

“Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation and has worked to ensure that communities hurt by the war on drugs have had the opportunity to participate,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said. “The $1.5 billion in sales of adult-use cannabis in Illinois translates into significant tax revenue with a portion of every dollar spent being reinvested in communities that have suffered for decades.”

Illinois law mandates that 25 percent of tax revenue generated by adult-use cannabis sales must support communities that are economically distressed, experience high rates of violence, and have been disproportionately impacted by drug criminalization.

“Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment for the Illinois economy, and sales have continued to rise, leading to additional revenue for the state,” State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford said. “Consistent cash flow from the cannabis industry assists the state with funding essential services such as violence prevention, mental health, and local government.”

The state has awarded $113.5 million in grants to date from funds generated from taxes on adult-use cannabis sales. The money is used to invest in underserved communities through Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority’s Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program.

“These much-needed resources for communities impacted by the drug war are the exact reason why policymakers who understand the pain and trauma being experienced by community is vital,” State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Chicago) said. “This isn’t just happening. These directed resources were the result of intentional policy decisions to begin repairing harm. But this is just the beginning. I am eager to see newly licensed Black businesses get a slice of the pie.”

Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) Director David Harris said the cannabis industry continues to have a positive impact on the state’s economy.

“It has created hundreds of jobs at cultivation centers and dispensaries throughout the state, and tax revenue generated continues to flow to local governments, help with drug programs and treatments, and is also being reinvested back into the communities that need it the most,” Harris said.

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Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency details veteran marijuana research grant award effort

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) has released details regarding Wayne State University and the University of Michigan receiving 2022 Veteran Marijuana Research (VMR) Grant Program Award recommendations.© Shutterstock On April 1, 2022, the CRA issued an RFP (Request For Proposals) for the VMR grants. The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act was passed […]

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The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) has released details regarding Wayne State University and the University of Michigan receiving 2022 Veteran Marijuana Research (VMR) Grant Program Award recommendations.

© Shutterstock

On April 1, 2022, the CRA issued an RFP (Request For Proposals) for the VMR grants. The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act was passed by Michigan voters in November 2018, creating the Marijuana Regulation Fund in the state treasury.

The legislation requires the CRA to expend money in the fund until 2022 or for at least two years as a means of providing $20 million each year to one or more clinical trials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and sponsored by a non-profit organization or researcher within an academic institution researching the efficacy of marijuana in treating domestic armed services veterans medical conditions of domestic armed and preventing veteran suicide.

A review team recommended Wayne State University be awarded the full amount requested for both proposals, $9,028,541 and $3,536,524, while the University of Michigan was awarded $7,434,935 of the requested $11,987,667.

Solicitation responses were reviewed by a Joint Evaluation Committee (JEC), consisting of CRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Deputy Director Robert Near, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Medical Adviser for the State Hospital Administration Dr. Catherine Reid.

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Connecticut Consumer Protection Department issues update on cannabis cultivation licensure process

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is encouraging qualifying Social Equity Applicants to proceed in the application review process for Cultivators in a Disproportionately Impacted Area (DIA).© Shutterstock “Thank you to the Social Equity Council for their work in taking this important step in the licensure process for cannabis businesses,” DCP Commissioner Michelle H. […]

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The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is encouraging qualifying Social Equity Applicants to proceed in the application review process for Cultivators in a Disproportionately Impacted Area (DIA).

© Shutterstock

“Thank you to the Social Equity Council for their work in taking this important step in the licensure process for cannabis businesses,” DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said. “DCP will review background checks for those applicants who received a vote of approval from the Council. Provisional licenses will be granted once the background checks are complete and selected applicants have submitted the required information and related fees. Licensees will then be able to move forward with setting up their business and applying for a final license.”

DCP Department was notified that 16 applications were approved by the Social Equity Council for satisfactorily meeting the requirements approved by the General Assembly to qualify for the DIA Cultivator license type solely available to Social Equity applicants.

“These important steps mean Connecticut cannabis cultivation will be primarily operated by people from those communities identified as disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, who qualified as Social Equity Applicants,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “While there is still a lot of work to be done, we are establishing Connecticut as a leader in addressing the inequities and injustices caused by cannabis prohibition. We are ensuring those communities most harmed have an opportunity to be leaders in this newly regulated industry.”

Cannabis was approved for adult use in June 2021, officials noted, adding adult-use cannabis retail sales are anticipated to begin in the state near the end of this year.

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Treasury adds nine state plans to aid small business growth

The U.S. Department of Treasury has added nine state plans approved under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to promote small business growth.© Shutterstock The Treasury Department has approved over $1.5 billion in funding for the effort. The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI. “This is an historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business […]

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The U.S. Department of Treasury has added nine state plans approved under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to promote small business growth.

© Shutterstock

The Treasury Department has approved over $1.5 billion in funding for the effort. The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI.

“This is an historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation through the American Rescue Plan that will help reduce barriers to capital access for traditionally underserved communities,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said. “I’m excited to see how SSBCI funds will promote equitable economic growth across the country.”

The Treasury added state plans from Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont.

SSBCI funding is slated to catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding, providing small business owners with resources needed for sustained growth.

SSBCI recipients are seeking to target industries and small businesses in need of access to capital. Last year, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses.

The SSBCI investments are part of the strategy to maintain the small business boom by expanding access to capital and providing entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.

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New York announces $5M in funding for cannabis accreditation programs

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said $5 million has been earmarked for SUNY and CUNY community colleges to create credential programs or courses aiding pathways to cannabis industry employment. © Shutterstock “New York’s new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have […]

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said $5 million has been earmarked for SUNY and CUNY community colleges to create credential programs or courses aiding pathways to cannabis industry employment.

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“New York’s new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful,” Hochul said. “Diversity and inclusion are what makes New York’s workforce a competitive, powerful asset, and we will continue to take concrete steps to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry.”

The institutions are slated to create or enhance non-degree and degree-eligible courses and programs, stackable credentials, and/or microcredentials addressing employer skill needs within the cannabis sector.

Additionally, selected campuses must partner with local employers in the cannabis industry and receive input on curriculum development.

“I am thankful to Governor Hochul and our partners at SUNY and CUNY community colleges for developing programs that will help develop a diverse, equitable, and accessible New York cannabis industry,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said. “As our cannabis industry grows, so does our need for skilled workers, and this is a wonderful way to create opportunities for New Yorkers.”

The cannabis credentialing program is in accordance with Hochul’s commitment to delivering new employment opportunities to New Yorkers, especially those from historically underserved communities.

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Colorado Gov. Polis issues marijuana-based Executive Order

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed an Executive Order that ensures no Coloradan is subject to penalization for possession, cultivation, or use of marijuana in light of state legalization.© Shutterstock Polis cited Amendment 64 in detailing the Order. “The exclusion of people from the workforce because of marijuana-related activities that are lawful in Colorado, but […]

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed an Executive Order that ensures no Coloradan is subject to penalization for possession, cultivation, or use of marijuana in light of state legalization.

© Shutterstock

Polis cited Amendment 64 in detailing the Order.

“The exclusion of people from the workforce because of marijuana-related activities that are lawful in Colorado, but still criminally penalized in other states, hinders our residents, economy, and our State,” Polis said. “No one who lawfully consumes, possesses, cultivates, or processes marijuana pursuant to Colorado law should be subject to professional sanctions or denied a professional license in Colorado. This includes individuals who consume, possess, cultivate or process marijuana in another state in a manner that would be legal under Colorado law.”

Per the Executive Order, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Specialized Business Group and Marijuana Enforcement Division (DOR) are required to protect the state’s workforce by ensuring professions are not in jeopardy as a result of lawful marijuana-related conduct; and not provide information, data or use resources to aid in professional investigations related to legal marijuana-related activities in Colorado.

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California farmers eye crypto-focused cannabis community

Legacy farmer and entrepreneur Justin Calvino is spearheading an effort by California cannabis farmers to establish a crypto-exclusive digital cannabis community named Emerald Road.© Shutterstock “Emerald Road is about solving a problem, and that solution just happens to be Web3,” Calvino said. “Legacy platforms are not embracing emerging technologies, and currently, there is no central […]

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Legacy farmer and entrepreneur Justin Calvino is spearheading an effort by California cannabis farmers to establish a crypto-exclusive digital cannabis community named Emerald Road.

© Shutterstock

“Emerald Road is about solving a problem, and that solution just happens to be Web3,” Calvino said. “Legacy platforms are not embracing emerging technologies, and currently, there is no central hub for canna-culture and canna-curious consumers to connect, socialize, learn, transact, and be entertained, not to mention the restrictions on cannabis advertising. In addition, small farmers don’t have the capital to market themselves on a broad scale like the bigger companies do. Emerald Road is the solution for all of those problems.”

The initiative connects farmers to customers via a blockchain-driven suite of purchasing and marketing tools, content and education, and community-building experiences.

“This is regenerative economics at its best,” per Calvino. “Emerald Road will allow these small businesses to create their own sustainable, local economy using a community-based growth model that lets money go back into the hands of producers.”

Amid the 2022 third quarter launch, Emerald Road Utility Token will be deployed to purchase goods and services. The next-generation wallet resource is slated to facilitate consumer and business transactions.

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