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California Awards Over $40 Million In Marijuana Tax-Funded Community Reinvestment Grants To Nonprofits And Health Agencies



California officials have awarded another round of community reinvestment grants to nonprofits and local health departments, funded by marijuana tax revenue.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced the recipients of over $41 million.on Friday, about 10 months after soliciting applications. This is the sixth round of cannabis-funded California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) under the state program.

Organizations received awards ranging from $600,000 and $3 million to support job placement, legal assistance, treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, referrals to medical care and other services for communities that have been disproportionately affected by the drug war.

GO-Biz said it plans to open up applications for the next round of grants this coming August. To be eligible, a nonprofit must be at least six months old, have a physical address in California, be tax-exempt at the state and federal levels, be registered as active with the secretary of state and be appropriately certified to provide the proposed services.

Grants can reimburse 100 percent of personnel costs associated with providing services. Training, equipment and all other direct costs are reimbursed at a rate of 50 percent. Indirect costs, meanwhile, may not exceed 17 percent of the total award.

Here are some examples of this year’s grant recipients: 

  • Poverello House (Fresno County): $3 million
  • The Los Angeles Free Clinic (Los Angeles County): $900,000
  • Saint John’s Program for Real Change (Sacramento County): $2,953,007
  • Bay Area Community Resources, Inc. (City and County of San Francisco): $1,200,000
  • Community Bridges (Santa Cruz County): $750,000

Last year, GO-Biz awarded more than $50 million in reinvestment grants, with funding going to organizations such as Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay, Uncommon Law, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and health departments in Los Angeles and Monterey counties.

Funding levels for the program have generally been increasing year over year, up until 2024 where it leveled off. In 2021, for example, the state awarded about $29 million in grants to 58 nonprofit organizations through the CalCRG program. The initiative was first announced in April 2020.

Legalization in California has created a number of new grant programs aimed at addressing the consequences of marijuana prohibition and attempting to nurture a strong, well-regulated legal industry.

In March, for example, officials awarded $12 million in marijuana tax-funded grants to cities across the state to support equity programs for people disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in his budget request this year that he will continue working to “strengthen” the state’s marijuana market, but he also proposed to help close an overall government budgetary deficit by borrowing $100 million from a cannabis tax fund designated for law enforcement and other public safety initiatives.

Separately, the state Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) announced last September that the office was doubling the amount of money available to localities to speed the opening cannabis retailers in their jurisdictions—part of a different grant program that aims to mitigate the illicit market.

In February, DCC also rolled out a new marijuana database that’s meant to help consumers, stakeholders and lawmakers better understand industry trends—including monthly sales data and information about cannabis licensees.

A poll commissioned by DCC that was released in February found that 62 percent of adults believe the state’s legalization law is having a “positive” impact—an even greater percentage than actually voted to enact the reform on the ballot a little more than seven years ago.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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