Provide Subsidized Financial Programs for Women and Minorities Developing a Cannabusiness

Provide Subsidized Financial Programs for Women and Minorities Developing a Cannabusiness

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Ebony Rachel started this petition to Maryland Governor and

Sign this petition to get Maryland law-markers to provide start-up funding for women, minorities and people who have been historically disenfranchised due to past marijuana prohibition to own a cannabusiness.  

Our goal is to ensure that priority status is given for cannabusiness licensing; and subsidized funding programs for women, minorities, and people who have been historically disenfranchised due to past marijuana prohibition. This priority status should include entrepreneurial opportunities for processing, growing, dispensing; and providing ancillary services in the cannabusiness industry.  Women, minorities, and people who have been historically disenfranchised due to marijuana prohibition, should be provided with the economic, educational, and community support to develop and independently own their cannabusinesses.

The Maryland legislature must implement an equitable approach to cannabusiness ownership in order to ensure that corporate businesses are not monopolizing the state’s cannabis industry.  Providing priority status and subsidized funding promotes an industry that is diverse and inclusive. This is important because the Business Disparities Study in the Maryland Market Area Report (2018)*,  concluded that there were significant economic disparities in the medical marijuana industry, specifically around opportunities for women and minorities.  Consequently, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), has initiated an educational and business development training program; however, this training ignores the fact that it takes millions of dollars to even enter this industry. Thus, this training is a futile attempt to rectify and implement equitable cannabusiness opportunities.  Also, it fails to address one of the largest, if not the most predominant barrier, to entering the marijuana industry-- the upfront costs.

Moreover, this diversity initiative does not include the thousands of men and women who have suffered punitive economic, social and political discrimination due to past marijuana prohibition. The state needs to provide opportunities for such persons to be able to crossover from the once illegal market to the legitimate cannabusiness industry.

By providing priority status and subsidized funding to women, minorities, and people who have been historically marginalized due to past marijuana prohibition, the state will open doors for developing innovative cannabusiness programs that can promote greater economic and social progress at the individual, community and state level.

Action Items for the State:

  1. Continue to offer no-cost statewide cannabusiness entrepreneurial and management training; and enhance these training programs to include more specific and specialized knowledge in obtaining startup finances/funding;
  2. Provide grants and/or low-interest rate loans for start-up funding costs;
  3. Incentivize cooperative-ownership cannabusiness programs;
  4. Mandate that a certain number of grower/processor/dispensary licenses and vendor contracts are to be set aside for minorities, women, and people who have cannabis related legal histories.
  5. Streamline the licensing process, so that small cannabusiness owners do not need the assistance of lobbyists, consultants or high priced attorneys.

 

*(https://mmcc.maryland.gov/ Documents/2018DisparityStudyforMDCannabisIndustry.pdf)

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