Bill would help those entering the Massachusetts cannabis market


BOSTON (AP) — A bill has passed the Massachusetts Senate that aims to help members of communities disproportionately harmed by the enforcement of past marijuana laws participate in the state’s growing cannabis market. .

The bill approved Thursday would create a new fund that supporters say will increase equity in the cannabis industry in part by addressing the lack of access to capital that has prevented many would-be entrepreneurs from participating in the new industry.

Opening an average cannabis retail store can cost more than $1 million, proponents of the legislation have said, with even higher numbers for manufacturing facilities – up to 3 to 5. millions of dollars.

Another hurdle is federal cannabis laws that prevent businesses from accessing traditional bank loans, leaving many entrepreneurs vulnerable to predatory financial dealings and damaging capital partnerships.

The bill would create a social equity fund to facilitate new access to capital by providing grants and loans, including forgivable and interest-free loans.

The fund would receive 10% of annual revenue from the marijuana excise tax, or about $18 million for the 2023 fiscal year.

If approved, the state would join a handful of other states in launching the program.

Bill is now heading to the Massachusetts House.


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