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California Gives $15 Million to Cannabis Social Equity Program Participants

The move is paid for by low/no-interest loans or grants.

This story originally appeared on Benzinga

California has granted $15 million to 10 cities and counties that are part of social equity programs. The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development and the Bureau of Cannabis Control announced the grant funding through the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions earlier this week.

Nicole Elliott, senior advisor on cannabis to Governor Gavin Newsom, disclosed that generations of Californians have experienced impacts of cannabis prohibition and criminalization. The grant funding is poised to help those within the legal cannabis market that were disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs, California Cannabis Portal writes.

"As we work to safely reopen our economy, leading with equity across all sectors will ensure a just recovery and further our commitment to creating a truly diverse legal industry. These efforts stand as a testament to our values as a state, and I applaud the work being done by these jurisdictions as they thoughtfully embrace this challenge," Elliott stated.

RELATED: Where to Find Funding for a Cannabis Business

At least $11.5 million will be given out to social equity entrepreneurs through low/no-interest loans or grants. The following ten cities received their grant awards:

  • Oakland, $2.4 million
  • San Francisco, $2 million
  • Los Angeles, $2 million
  • Sacramento, $1.8 million
  • Long Beach, $1.2 million
  • Fresno, $1.2 million
  • Humboldt County, $1 million
  • Lake County, $888,000
  • Palm Springs, $869,000
  • Mendocino County, $832,000

In addition, a total of eight local governments received up to $75,000 each to boost creating social equity programs, including San Diego County, Sonoma County, Trinity County, Escondido, Modesto, Richmond, San Diego, and Isleton.

RELATED: This Is How You Turn A Social Equity Grant Into A Thriving Business

Cannabis And Social Equity Issues

This is the third time that cities in the Golden State that participate in social equity programs are awarded funding, building upon the $40 million California handed out earlier. Former NBA star and Viola CEO Al Harrington has been a vocal critic of the program.

"Social equity here has been a complete disaster," Harrington told Benzinga last year. "And I hope that every state that thinks about implementing social equity [looks] at California as what not to do first."

Dr. Chanda Macias, CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare, and a woman of color and of Latino descent, recently shed light on how high-status positions within the cannabis space are typically held by those who are wealthy and white.

"Giving back to the community is important," she said. "You really have to focus on social equity and Social Justice Reform."