When you think of the Southern California desert town Coachella, you probably imagine flowered headdresses, influencers taking selfies, and a music festival packed with the industry’s biggest stars. But beneath the glitz and glamour of the city’s annual festival, Coachella struggles with the same issues of poverty and inequality as other Golden State cities. And when it comes to the cannabis industry, a new state grant is set to enhance social equity in Coachella.
According to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, Coachella was one of 10 California municipal governments awarded a “local equity grant” from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) aimed at encouraging and assisting ganjapreneurs who might otherwise be left out of the industry due to steep financial and regulatory barriers.
“The City of Coachella’s Cannabis Social Equity Program aims to provide financial and technical assistance to small business applicants from communities with high levels of poverty or a history of drug arrests,” Mayor Steven Hernandez said in a press release.
Coachella will be given $500,000 in funds “for commercial cannabis equity programs that focus on inclusion and support of persons and communities that were negatively or disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization.”
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Whether through business loans, assistance with regulatory compliance and zoning regulations, or hands-on workforce development, Mayor Hernandez is confident that the grant can help address the industry’s racial and socio-economic issues.
“Since last year, the City Council has been really trying to think about how the little guy, as well as the person that has been criminalized because of the War on Drugs, can get into this flourishing industry," Mayor Hernandez said. "When the state looked at putting forward some dollars for social equity, we all jumped on this."
The funding provided to Coachella and the nine other municipalities who received the grant came from California’s Cannabis Equity Act of 2018.
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