Colorado’s Governor is requesting $5,000,000 dollars to jumpstart the state’s social equity efforts by providing business assistance programs for cannabis entrepreneurs who were most affected by the war on drugs, Marijuana Moment reports.
Looking to mirror programs like the Federal Small Business Association and the State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the state’s Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) is asking for the one-time cash infusion to fund “a new cannabis advancement program, that will include workshops and other business development services.”
“The SBDCs provide candid, free advice on developing a business plan, how to access capital, how to market a business, etc.,” according to the proposal, “and unfortunately, marijuana businesses have not been able to take advantage of that assistance due to the federal prohibition.”
The governor’s proposal would provide technical assistance and establishes grant and loan programs for social equity applicants.
“Technical support and access to capital are key pieces of OEDIT’s programming to help businesses get off the ground and grow successfully, and a dedicated staff member can help cannabis entrepreneurs—some of whom may have been previously shut out—navigate this process.” — Excerpt from Gov. Polis’ budget proposal
Colorado began implementing its social equity program last year.
In October, Gov. Polis pardoned thousands of Coloradans who had been convicted of an ounce or less of cannabis.
“We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less,” Gov. Polis said before signing that executive order. “Too many Coloradans have been followed their entire lives by a conviction for something that is no longer a crime, and these convictions have impacted their job status, housing, and countless other areas of their lives.”
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