MENDOCINO Co., 4/21/20 — The County of Mendocino has been awarded $2,242,704 in state funds to establish a cannabis equity program to provide economic support to county cannabis farmers and business owners who were impacted by previous prohibitionist regulations and are now seeking to participate in California’s permitted cannabis market. County officials had previously received news of the grant, part of $30 million allocated to local jurisdictions, but it was officially announced by the county on Monday, April 20, in an email sent out at 4:22 p.m. in time for the traditional cannabis holiday.
California initiated funding for cannabis equity programs to facilitate people previously impacted by the cannabis prohibition enforcement who want to apply for cannabis permits, and a number of local governments including Humboldt County, Los Angeles, and munipalities in the Bay Area have established equity programs, although Mendocino County did not apply in previous funding rounds. This round, the state is allocated over $30 million in local awards to support the development of cannabis equity programs or towards supporting individual applicants.
In Mendocino County, the program will be implemented by the planning and building department, which oversees the cannabis cultivation permit program, and more details are expected to be finalized by the end of June, with funds potentially being available by fall. The program is intended to support residents who worked in the cannabis industry during prohibition, and who are now seeking to participate in the legal market through permits or employment. Prior to California’s new commercial cannabis permitting system, advocacy groups and local officials estimated there were potentially 10,000 or more cannabis gardens within the county, although there are currently less than 1,000 permitted cannabis farms.
Individuals may need to meet criteria for participation such as, but not limited to, “prior arrests for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses, asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event, homelessness resulting from cannabis enforcement, exploitation or violence while participating in the cannabis industry, members of minority populations, cannabis businesses located in areas with a more than 20% poverty rate, and those engaged in small-scale cultivation.”
The program could potentially provide services or financial support related to permit fees, help with applications and small business development, assistance with road maintenance and co-operatives, and grants or loans to help with compliance, employment training, or environmental mitigation.
Here’s the announcement from the county, followed by a statement from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, and from the Bureau of Cannabis Control:
Mendocino County Awarded $2.2 Million in Cannabis Equity Grant Funding
Post Date: 04/20/2020 4:22 PM
Mendocino County is proud to announce that the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has awarded $2,242,704 in Cannabis Equity Grant Funding towards the development and implementation of a Local Equity Program for Mendocino County. Funding for the program will begin in Fiscal Year 2020-2021, and no more than 10% may go towards administration of the program. This leaves more than $2 million for loans, grants, technical assistance, training, waivers and fee reductions for eligible individuals. The Mendocino County Planning and Building Services is working with the Go-Biz to enter into an agreement by the end of June for the awarded equity funding. Planning and Building will announce further details regarding the program implementation and participation this summer.
This grant comes as the result of an unprecedented, extremely intensive, and time-sensitive collaboration in February between local government, and both academic and cannabis industry partners. Mendocino County would like to acknowledge and express appreciation for the considerable efforts made by several individuals and organizations to pull together the resources and information necessary to complete the application. In effort to gather historical information that was necessary to qualify for the funding, Supervisor John McCowen, who has a long and detailed history developing cannabis specific regulations and programs, was instrumental in providing information regarding the County’s prior cannabis programs and ordinance history. “Our staff and consultants have done great work! Our legacy cannabis businesses were already struggling with the high cost and complexity of entering the legal market, so these equity funds are needed now more than ever,” said Second District Supervisor John McCowen. Supervisor Williams spearheaded the effort for a tremendous and effective government, academic institution, and industry partnership. The Executive Office and Planning and Building Services worked collaboratively to coordinate the equity assessment and grant application.
The County worked closely and rapidly with academic partners at the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) at Humboldt State University, the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR), as well as cannabis industry partners including the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), Origins Council (OC), and cannabis attorney Hannah Nelson to produce a Mendocino County Equity Assessment which established that Mendocino has been disproportionately impacted by the prohibition of cannabis and the war on drugs. It also concluded that a targeted, data-driven and well-funded Local Equity Program can help certain populations and neighborhoods, particularly small growers and those impacted by past policies that may be left behind, participate in a legal and sustainable economic future.
Program eligibility will be determined based on a set of criteria including, but not limited to: prior arrests for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses, asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event, homelessness resulting from cannabis enforcement, exploitation or violence while participating in the cannabis industry, members of minority populations, cannabis businesses located in areas with a more than 20% poverty rate, and those engaged in small-scale cultivation.
Services to be provided by the program may include: tiered or waived fees, application assistance, assistance for small business development, deferral of application fees for Administrative Permits and Use Permits, technical assistance related to Road Maintenance Associations and cannabis cooperative associations, loans and grants for purposes of assuring regulatory compliance and mitigation of environmental effects of cannabis cultivation and employment training. As the Equity Program is developed, more information will be released on eligibility and services.
The County looks forward to continued collaboration with its academic and industry partners to finalize and implement the Mendocino County Equity Program.
For more information, please contact Brent Schultz, Mendocino County Planning and Building Services Director at (707) 234-6650.Mendocino County Press releasee, 4/20/20.
Here’s an announcement from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance:
HAPPY 420 MENDOCINO COUNTY!!!!!!!
MCA is proud to have supported this effort along with the County of Mendocino, Supervisors John McCowen & Ted Williams, CEO Carmel Angelo & Deputy CEO Sarah Dukett, Building and Planner Director Brent Schultz, the California Center for Rural Policy & Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR), Attorney Hannah Nelson and Genine Coleman of Origins Council. #StrongerTogether
Most especially, MCA would like to acknowledge the legacy cannabis community of Mendocino County. It is your collective dedication and sacrifice that we celebrate today!
Here’s the announcement from the Bureau of Cannabis Control:
Today, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in partnership with the Bureau of Cannabis Control, announced $30 million in grant funding through the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions.
The program focuses on the inclusion and support of individuals in California’s legal cannabis marketplace who are from communities negatively or disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization. This is done through small business support services like technical assistance to individuals, reduced licensing fees or waived fees, assistance in recruitment, training, and retention of a qualified and diverse workforce, and business resilience such as emergency preparedness.
At least $23 million of the funding, in the form of low/no-interest loans or grants, will be directly allocated to applicants and licensees specifically identified by local jurisdictions as being from communities most harmed by cannabis prohibition. To date, jurisdictions seeking to create this inclusive regulatory framework represent roughly a quarter of the state’s population.
“These Cannabis Equity Grants reflect California’s desire to lead our legalization efforts with equity and inclusivity,” said Nicole Elliott, Governor Newsom’s Senior Advisor on Cannabis. “We applaud these jurisdictions for not only embracing the challenge of creating pathways to participate in a legitimate cannabis marketplace, but for doing so in a thoughtful way that seeks to uplift all communities. It is our hope that these efforts lead to the creation of a truly diverse industry and that these programs serve as a blueprint for others who share in our commitment to address systemic discrimination and create real prosperity for all.”
Local Jurisdiction Funding for Cannabis Equity Applicants/Licensees
City of Oakland $6,576,705.76
City of Los Angeles $6,042,014.23
City and County of San Francisco $4,995,000.00
City of Sacramento $3,831,955.93
City of Long Beach $2,700,000.00
County of Humboldt $2,459,581.02
County of Mendocino $2,245,704.40
Local Jurisdiction Funding for Cannabis Equity Assessment/Program Development
County of Lake $150,000.00
County of Monterey $150,000.00
County of Nevada $149,999.95
City of Palm Springs $149,397.90
City of San Jose $149,300.37
City of Santa Cruz $147,666.75
City of Clearlake $98,890.43
City of Coachella $93,783.26
City of Stockton $60,000.00
To learn more about the program, click here.