Colorado Gov. Jared Polis last week announced the first businesses to receive funding through the state’s Cannabis Business Pilot Grant.
A total of 16 aspiring cannabis retailers received the grants through a program that seeks “to save small businesses money, foster equity and diversity in the cannabis industry, and create good-paying jobs for Coloradans.”
“Our nation-leading work promoting equity and supporting innovation in Colorado’s thriving cannabis industry supports our economy, saves small businesses money, and ensures our state remains the best business-friendly destination in the country,” Polis, a Democrat, said in a statement on Thursday. “I’m proud to see this multi-year effort result in transformative grants to deserving applicants.”
The pilot grant program is part of a concerted effort to ensure that the state-regulated cannabis market benefits individuals from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
In addition to facilitating economic opportunities through its new marijuana law, Colorado, like other states, have also offered a pathway for previous pot-related offenders to clean their record.
In January, Polis rang in the new year with an executive order that granted pardons to more than 1,300 individuals who had been convicted of possession of two ounces or less of cannabis.
The executive order was a byproduct of a bill signed into law by Polis that “authorized the Governor to grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana,” according to Polis’s office.
“Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine. It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record that interfered with employment, credit, and gun ownership, but today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana that occurred during the failed prohibition era,” Polis said in a statement at the time.
The grants awarded by the Polis administration last week are described as “a funding opportunity for social equity cannabis businesses who have been awarded, or are actively pursuing, a regulated business license from the Marijuana Enforcement Division,” according to the state, which said the program “was developed to support cannabis entrepreneurs through access to capital to promote social equity, innovation, and job creation across the industry.”
Recipients of the grants may receive a maximum of $25,000 or $50,000.
The program is administered by the state’s Cannabis Business Office, which “provided grant applicants with educational and professional development opportunities as a part of the grant-making process,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.
The press release said that applicants “were required to complete a business development curriculum and create business plans and project proposals,” which included online learning modules.
Under the terms of the program, if the applicant did not include the training by the time the application was submitted, they were then given “21 calendar days to complete the technical assistance or forfeit their grant application submission and potential grant award.”
“The grant process was designed to ultimately prepare applicants with the foundational knowledge and materials for future success, as well as equip those in Colorado’s Cannabis Industry with a robust skillset to continue our state’s leadership in the space,” the press release said.
The 16 businesses selected to receive the first round of grant funding are: Apollo Limited; Canna-Couriers; Colorado Kush; Cb1 Logistics; Delta-9; Different Strokes 2.0 Puff N Paint Sip Art Studio; Flora Cannabis; Go Harvest LLC; Grn Bus; IDY Packaging Distributors; Kaylx Brands; Meta-Zon CannClub; Mile High Lounge (Ganja Games); Paly; Pufflow.com; and Tetra Hospitality Group.