Pasadena’s Latest Equity Grant Opportunity Goes Up in Smoke

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This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Chronic Issues

Grant recipient awards were just announced for the California Cannabis Equity Grants Program for the Local Jurisdictions Fiscal Year 2023-24.

As Local News Pasadena correspondent Jimi Devine previously reported, for the second year in a row, the grant awarded to the City of Pasadena was zero because the City Council’s ED-Tech Committee did not prioritize the program and apply for funds. This was despite having previously received a $75,000 state-funded cannabis social equity planning grant.

The planning grant funded a report by Botec Analysis, sufficiently buried in the minutes of the August 16, 2022 Economic Development & Technology (ED-Tech) Committee. The City had until December 2022 to make its first go at the $3 million the report concluded it was likely to receive. That number would have put Pasadena among last year’s top state-funded grants.

Some of the fiscal year 2023-2024 grant recipients include:

  • Oakland: $4.2 billion city budget with a population of 433,000 awarded $3 million
  • Sacramento: $1.5 billion city budget with a population of 525,000 awarded $1.250 million
  • San Jose: $5.2 billion city budget with a population of 983,000 awarded $1.026 million

Noticeably absent from the list was Pasadena’s $1.2 billion city budget with a population of 135,000.

Up to $3 million can be awarded to programs, and funding may be used:

• To provide grants, no-interest loans, or low-interest loans to the jurisdiction’s local equity applicants and/or local equity licensees to assist with startup and ongoing costs.

• To provide or fund direct technical assistance to the jurisdiction’s local equity applicants and/or local equity licensees.

• To assist in the administration of the jurisdiction’s local equity program.

The funding could be used to implement an effective program that truly supports the communities most impacted by the war on drugs in Pasadena. 

The Executive Summary of the Botec report includes potential amendments to existing regulations and City policies to further the goal of social equity in cannabis, which is to ensure that people from communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition and discriminatory law enforcement benefit from cannabis legalization.

The following Pasadena regulation and policy changes were discussed in detail in the planning report:

  1. Expungement. Develop or contribute to a program to help individuals expunge eligible prior drug-related offenses from their record.
  2. Community Reinvestment. Establish parity amongst dispensaries with respect to:
    • Financial contributions to community organizations;
    • Local and minority hiring practices;
    • Local and minority contracting opportunities;
    • Local and/or minority owned products sold through the store.
  3. Social Equity License. Reserve the remaining 6th permit as an ‘Equity Permit.’

As of today, applying for future funding is not on any ED-Tech Committee agendas. The window to apply for a 2024-2025 fiscal year grant opens in September.

Series Navigation<< Pasadena Again Fails to Apply for $3 Million California Social Equity Grant
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Sheryl Turner

Sheryl is Local News Pasadena's Publisher and Pasadena Media Foundation's Founder. When not saving local news, she devotes her spare time to finding the best meatloaf in town.
Email: [email protected]

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