California officials have awarded more than $50 million in marijuana tax-funded community reinvestment grants, the state announced on Thursday.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) said that the funds are being distributed to 31 different local health departments and community-based nonprofit organizations that support economic and social development in areas disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
This marks the fifth year in a row that the office has provided the grant funding. And the cannabis tax dollars that are supporting the program increased by about $15 million compared to last year.
The funds will be used to support efforts such as job placement, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, legal services and linkages to medical care.
Here are some examples of the organizations that are receiving the grants:
Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay: $2,998,487.50
Los Angeles Conservation Corps: $1,933,467.60
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health: $3,000,000.00
Uncommon Law: $3,000,000.00
Monterey County Health Department: $3,000,000.00
Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley: $600,000.00
GO-Biz said that they “anticipate issuing our next grant solicitation in August of 2023.”
Funding levels for the program have been consistently increasing year over year. In 2021, for example, the state awarded about $29 million in grants to 58 nonprofit organizations through the CalCRG program. The initiative was first announced in April 2020.
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Meanwhile, California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) also recently awarded nearly $20 million in research grants, funded by marijuana tax revenue, to 16 academic institutions to carry out studies into cannabis—including novel cannabinoids like delta-8 THC and the genetics of “legacy” strains from the state.
DCC previously announced in February that it would be launching a first-of-its-kind grant program to support cities and counties in establishing local cannabis business licensing programs to address unmet consumer demand and help curb the illicit market.
Also that month, California officials announced that they awarded $15 million in grants to support local efforts to promote equity in the marijuana industry. GO-Biz distributed the funds to 16 cities and counties across the state through the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions. Applications opened for the program late last year.
California is also making moves to expand its marijuana market beyond the state’s borders, with regulators recently seeking a formal opinion from the state attorney general’s office on whether allowing interstate marijuana commerce would put the state at “significant risk” of federal enforcement action.
The request for guidance from DCC is a key step that could eventually trigger a law that the governor signed last year, empowering him to enter into agreements with other legal states to import and export marijuana products.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also said last year that he wants to see marijuana federally legalized, in part so that his state’s cannabis farmers can “legally supply the rest of the nation.”
A state task force has also officially recommended that the legislature pass reparations legislation to compensate about two million Black Americans with a total of nearly $228 billion for racially disproportionate harms that resulted from the war on drugs in the state over the course of a half-century.
Meanwhile, a California bill to legalize the possession of certain psychedelics and facilitated use of the substances passed the Senate on Thursday, advancing to the Assembly for consideration.
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Photo courtesy of California State Fair.
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