California Agency Awards Over $50 Million in Cannabis Tax Funds to 31 Organizations
Written by on May 31, 2023
The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced that it is once again giving a handful of grants to various health departments and non-profit organizations on May 25. The agency is utilizing cannabis excise and cultivation taxes to fund $50 million in fiscal year 2022-2023 and awarded funds through the California Community Reinvestment Grants Program. Recipients are permitted to use the funds to help people find jobs, treat mental health or substance abuse, and provide legal services.
In order to qualify, organizations must meet various requirements, such as being in good standing for at least six months prior to grant solicitation, have tax-exempt status from the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board, and be labeled as “current” or “exempt” in the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, among others.
This fiscal year’s grant recipients include 31 organizations that specifically aim to support communities affected by the War on Drugs. The highest grants awarded were $3 million for Centers for Equity and Success, Inc., Shields for Families, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, UnCommon Law, and the Monterey County Health Department. Other grants include First Place for Youth, Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay, United Friends of the Children, and more.
According to a GO-Biz press release, the agency plans to open up the next wave of grants for application later this summer in August 2023.
The California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) initially announced the launch of the program with $30 million in first grant recipients for fiscal year 2019-2020 in April 2020. In 2021, the California Community Reinvestment Grants Program granted $15 million to various organizations. Most recently last year in June, GO-Biz announced the distribution of cannabis tax funds in the amount of $35.5 million between 58 grants recipients.
In February, the DCC announced that it was offering $20 million in grant programs for the purpose of supporting and expanding the state cannabis industry. “Expanding access to California’s retail cannabis market is an important step towards protecting consumer safety and supporting a balanced market,” said DCC director Nicole Elliott. “The retail access grant program ultimately seeks to encourage legal retail operations in areas where existing consumers do not have convenient access to regulated cannabis.” Six study initiatives were approved at the University of California, Los Angeles, three at University of California, Berkeley, and single grants for colleges such as University of California, Davis, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Cal Poly Humboldt.
Also in February, the DCC announced that it would be allocating $20 million to the Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant, which helps local governments enact their respective cannabis licensing programs. It also announced an additional $15 million that would be granted to support equity in the cannabis industry.
California continues to fund cannabis research efforts as well. In April, 16 colleges were granted nearly $20 million for the purposes of studying cannabis. These initiatives ranged in topics from studying legacy genetics, potency, and more. “It is the Department’s aspiration that these studies will advance the body of scientific research, further our understanding of cannabis, and aid to the continued development and refinement of the legal framework,” said DCC chief deputy director Rasha Salama. “These studies will provide valuable insights on topics of interest to California’s consumers, businesses, and policy makers and the Department looks forward to sharing them once they are completed.”
Just a few weeks ago, a California task force issued a draft of its final report, which concluded that the state issue an apology to Black Americans for discrimination experienced as a result of the War on Drugs. Additionally, it called for the payment of funds to Black Americans for “each year of residency in California during the 49-year period between 1971 and 2020.” The final version of the report will be sent to congress on June 29.
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