The month of July sure was a big one in Maryland. Adult-use cannabis is finally legalized as of July 1st! With these new changes come the need for deeper education around cannabis and factors within the industry. Here at Story Cannabis, we are devoted to educating you on the characteristics of cannabis and its impact on our community. Follow along with us as we navigate and explore the current status of Maryland cannabis social equity.
Defining Social Equity
First, let’s get crystal clear on some definitions. It’s crucial to understand that equity and equality are not the same.
‘Equality’ is the idea that each person, place or thing is given the same access to resources. However, this doesn’t account for where disparities exist. ‘Equity’ seeks to acknowledge which disparities are at play and disperse resources accordingly so true equality can be met.
Subsequently, ‘social equity’ is a central concept that seeks to rectify the historical injustices and disparities created by our institutions.
Maryland’s Approach to Cannabis Social Equity
In Maryland, the state recognizes the importance of addressing past injustices and ensuring an inclusive cannabis market. The pursuit of social equity within the legal cannabis industry is off to a great start. But we can expect evolution as the cannabis industry and state of social equity in our country continue to expand.
What’s more, the Maryland Department of Commerce has shared that starting August 1st, 2023, they will begin accepting applications for the second round of funding from the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund.
What exactly is the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund?
According to their website, it’s a financing resource operated by the Maryland Department of Commerce. It provides grants and loans for small businesses, including small, minority-owned and small women-owned businesses entering the adult-use cannabis industry.
CBAF also provides grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for cannabis-related programs and to business development organizations, including incubators, to train and assist small businesses, including minority and women business owners and entrepreneurs, seeking to become licensed to participate in the adult-use cannabis industry.
The goal with this fund is to provide support and resources to these marginalized license holders, ensuring they can successfully establish and operate their cannabis businesses in the state.
A Guide for Maryland Cannabis Social Equity Applicants
Now that you have a bit of context on what social equity efforts Maryland is offering for the cannabis industry — let’s dive into the benefits and eligibility criteria.
In qualifying for eligibility regarding this fund, one can expect:
- License application assistance for participation in the adult–use cannabis industry.
- Assistance with the operating or capital expenses of a business participating in the adult–use cannabis industry.
- Targeted training to support participation in the adult–use cannabis industry.
- Grants/loans up to $5 million will be provided to qualifying businesses.
So, how is Maryland choosing who qualifies?
- Must be a Social Equity Licensee who has received stage one pre-approval before October 1, 2022 and is not operational as of August 1, 2023 as defined and determined by the Maryland Cannabis Administration;
- Qualify as a small business;
- Personal Net Worth Qualification – The business must be at least 51% owned by individuals whose personal net worth does not exceed $1.7 million.
- Complete application;
- Must provide a detailed business plan;
- Indicate the portion of the award to be received as a loan (if any).
- Submit a project status report showing accomplishment of project milestones every 6 months.
Story – Supporting Real Change Through Maryland Cannabis Social Equity Efforts!
Here at Story Cannabis Maryland, we are committed to providing equity to our customers that are members of marginalized communities. Our current social equity efforts include various discounts for seniors and veterans as well as accommodations for disabled customers, but we don’t want to stop there.
We understand that to make real change happen, we must be continually open to listening and learning and doing our due diligence of research and education. We pledge to never stop growing in our efforts to create a more equitable world.
Thanks for following along as we unpack this important issue. This is a subject we look forward to talking more about in the future. Be sure to stay up-to-date with our Blog page for more cannabis education!
CTA for each MD dispensary location
*Always consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.*