Colorado’s Cannabis Business Office (CBO) and a branch of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), has announced the winners of its first round of social equity grant funding, according to Westword. The CBO was formed to help cannabis business owners most affected by the war on drugs.
State data shows that 18% of cannabis business owners and 33% of employees working in the Colorado cannabis industry identify as “minorities.” Using cannabis tax money to fund the program, officials say it has $1 million in grant funding and an additional $2.5 million in low-interest small business microloans to issue. In all, 16 awardees were announced, many of whom are delivery and hospitality cannabis businesses.
Each business had to come to the table with matching funds to the grant amount and already be a Colorado social-equity licensee. The social equity license is only for cannabis business owners who meet one of the following criteria: having a cannabis drug arrest on their record, earning 50% of the state medium income, or hailing from a community designated as a low-economic opportunity zone by the state. Grant applicants also had to attend a technical training program and submit a business proposal, Westword notes.
Grants are gifted by business size with smaller startups eligible for $25,000 and larger businesses eligible for up to $50,000. Specific grant amounts were not shared. Grant winners must submit six-month and one-year updates on how they spent their grant, says Westword.
OEDIT says more grants are on the way, but the application window has not been announced.
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