New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced in her first State of State Address last January 5, 2022, that she aims to set up a $200 million cannabis fund designed to support social equity applicants and needs as New York soldiers on in the legal cannabis market. According to Syracuse, the State of the State Address was held in Albany.
The cannabis social equity fund will be funded through a public and private partnership, particularly for legal-age adult applicants that are seeking to permeate the legal marijuana market. The initiative comes as the state of New York is preparing to issue licenses for applicants and stores seeking to sell to individuals aged 21 and over, reports Market Watch.
According to the document released by the State of the State book, Hochul will “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, particularly from historically marginalized communities.” To achieve the said goal, “Governor Hochul will create a $200 million public-private fund to support social equity applicants as they plan for and build out their businesses.”
“Licensing fees and tax revenue will seed the fund and leverage significant private investment,” continued the document. On top of this, Market Watch also reveals that part of the seed funding will come from private investments.
With respect to private investments, Cannabis Wire reveals that the state of New York’s cannabis industry is slated to rise to a whopping $4 billion.
“While New York has committed to making its cannabis industry more equitable, this action will put that commitment into practice. New York will lead where many other states have fallen short. The governor is focused on providing more than basic business supports and training for our future cannabis entrepreneurs, and this fund will provide direct capital and startup financing to social equity applicants as the State takes meaningful steps to ensuring that New York’s cannabis industry is the most diverse and inclusive in the nation,” shares the State of the State document.
Included in the target communities and individuals are those that come from communities directly impacted and affected by the war on drugs, as well as businesses owned by women and minorities or people of color. In addition to these, Market Watch notes that the financing and funding will also be extended to farmers in distressed circumstances, service-disabled veterans, and individuals involved in fields of justice.
Apart from providing a massive $200 million cannabis fund, Marijuana Moment notes that Governor Kathy Hochul also intends to zero in on further reducing harmful drug policies in place as well as regulating and supporting the current hemp market.
Although the program brought forward by Governor Hochul is deemed ideal given that it supports an extensive number of people and communities, Minority Cannabis Business Association executive director Amber Littlejohn said that while she supports the initiative, she also points out that the timeline may further delay the licensing and dispensing of funds, reports Syracuse.
In a statement, Littlejohn said, “I love the spirit; $200 million sounds good, but if it comes after the market has already opened, then it has come too late.”