Annual California Cannabis Tax Revenue Fund Grantees Awarded $46M

The program has been running for multiple years now and the grant amount is being split between 30 different organizations.

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced a new batch of cannabis tax revenue community investments on May 31. This round’s grants for fiscal year 2023-2024, which was given to recipients from the California Community Reinvestment Grants program (CalCRG), includes 30 organizations and a total of $46.6 million.

In order to be chosen to receive funds through the CalCRG program, applicants must meet a variety of criteria. Organization must be organized and in good standing six months before being chosen, must maintain their tax-exempt status with the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board, must be an active registered organization through the California Secretary of State’s Office, and have a physical address in California, among other requirements.

The most recent round of applicants includes two organizations located in Alameda County, two in Contra Costa county, two in Fresno County, one in Humboldt County, nine in Los Angeles County, two in Sacramento County, one in San Diego County, three in the city and county of San Francisco, and two in Santa Cruz County. Additionally, six applicants hold established residence in more than one county.

Among the recipients with the highest amount of funds granted, four received $3 million, including Poverello House in Fresno County, Downtown Women’s Health Center in Los  Angeles County, and Get Lit-Words Ignite, Inc. in Los Angeles County, and PRC in City/County of San Francisco. The lowest granted amount included was Monument Impact in Contra Costa County, which received $600,000.

The program first began accepting applications from organizations in 2018. In April 2020 for FY 2019-2020, GO-Biz awarded $30 million in cannabis tax revenue toward 54 organizations. The following year, FY 2020-2021 awarded 59 organizations which received a portion of $15 million. For FY 2021-2022, 78 organizations received a split amount of $35.5 million. Last year for FY 2022-2023, GO-Biz awarded $50 million to 31 organizations. And then of course, the most recent round for FY 2023-2024 saw $46.6 million given to 30 organizations.

In reviewing the past few years of grant results, the amount of cannabis tax revenue funds has generally increased (the highest being funds granted in FY 2022-2023), although the number of organizations chosen has decreased.

This upcoming August, GO-Biz also confirmed that it would reopen its window for applicants to apply for funds once again, which will be reviewed and likely awarded sometime in spring 2025.

In a recent breakdown of cannabis tax revenue in each U.S. state, Marijuana Policy Project shows that California generated a total of $5.7 billion since legalization began in 2018 through 2023. In the beginning, the state collected $397 million, followed by $638 million in 2019, $1.11 billion in 2020, $1.4 billion in 2021, $1.1 billion in 2022, and $1.1 billion in 2023. This is based on a tax rate of 15% excise tax and standard 7.25% sales tax.

California collected the most cannabis tax revenue, followed by Illinois which generated $1.9 billion between 2020- partial 2024 data. Between 2014-2023, Washington state has collected $4.1 billion in cannabis tax revenue, and between December 2019-partial 2024 data, Michigan has collected $1.2 billion.

The GO-Biz annual cannabis tax revenue grant isn’t the only state effort to allow cannabis tax revenue to go back into the community. It also recently awarded $12 million to “to advance economic justice for populations and communities impacted by cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs by providing support to local jurisdictions as they promote equity in California and eliminate barriers to enter the newly regulated cannabis industry for equity program applicants and licensees,” the grant description stated.

The funds were split among 10 cities and/or counties for FY 2023-2024. This included the city of Oakland ($3 million), city/county of San Francisco ($2 million), Trinity County ($1.8 million), Mendocino County ($1.8 million), city of Sacramento ($1.2 million), city of San Jose ($1 million), Humboldt County ($600,000), city of Coachella ($350,000), city of Daly City ($75,000), and city of Santa Monica ($40,000).

In March, the San Jose City Council published a press release stating that the funds would help the city develop its local cannabis industry. “We are thrilled to support the City of San José’s efforts to reduce barriers to entry into the legal, regulated cannabis industry,” said GO-Biz Deputy Director of Community and Local Equity Grants, Will Koch. “We look forward to this grant providing the technical assistance and funding to support equity in licensing and cannabis business registrations.”

Director of the Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs, Nanci Klein, explained the necessity of the program. “San José’s Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs is committed to driving a competitive economy that increases the prosperity and quality of life for all our residents and business owners,” Klein said. “The Cannabis Equity Business Academy seeks to equalize the playing field in this complex and heavily regulated business sector, and I am glad to say that of the 29 San José residents participating in the Academy, 86% of them identify as Asian, African and Native American, Latino or Pacific Islander.”

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