A new California law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown eases the way for those impacted hardest by the failed “War on Drugs” to launch a budding marijuana business. Senate Bill 1294 aims to counteract the disproportionate impact of the misguided drug ware on minority communities, allowing local jurisdictions in California to apply for a grant from the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control to aid entrepreneurs who are also minorities in a number of ways, including providing financial support via waiver of license fees, providing technical assistance and more (with $10 million allocated to provide this support).
The new law, supporters said, will directly go to helping those who have been more profoundly impacted by the criminalization of marijuana.
The California Cannabis Equity Act was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, noting that cities that have local marijuana equity programs (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento) will have access to the grant funds. Some opponents of this law argued prior to passage that giving marijuana growers a license and access to grants despite a prior marijuana conviction, something even some proponents of legal marijuana argue harms legitimate businesses because some would-be cannabis business owners got their prior convictions growing marijuana unlawfully on land that wasn’t designated for it, thereby harming the environment. Continue reading