The state of Maryland announced a $40 million grant that will be doled out to a handful of social equity marijuana companies – an effort to ease their entrance into the newly launched recreational cannabis market.
Eligible companies may receive up to $5 million each in either a lump sum or a no-interest loan, according to a press release from the state Department of Commerce, which is overseeing the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund.
The $40 million will be divided up among social equity licensees who “held a stage one pre-approval for a license before October 1, 2022, and are not yet operational by August 1, 2023,” the department stated.
“The cannabis industry is evolving quickly and we want to make sure that Maryland helps lead this new chapter of equity and economic growth,” Gov. Wes Moore said in the release. “By focusing this round of funding on social equity applicants, we can ensure investments go towards businesses in communities that have been historically overlooked, and ultimately provide new opportunities for residents throughout Maryland.”
The application window for grants runs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1, as part of the second financing round awarded by the fund. The first round went to help existing medical marijuana companies make the transition to the recreational market.
To win a grant, applicants must submit “a detailed description” of what the funds will be used for and a specific timeline for when they will be open for business, according to the release.
Future funding rounds from the CBAF will target Historically Black Colleges and Universities, business incubators, and entrepreneurs applying for licensure. There will also be state funds devoted to helping train minority and women business owners, the department said.