A county infographic depicting ‘Project Trellis’ — its support program for the local cannabis industry, which includes the equity program.
Although Humboldt County has been awarded nearly $3.7 million in funding for its Cannabis Equity Program — a state-funded local project designed to lift up communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition — residents of Humboldt County have yet to receive any of those funds.
That’s not entirely the county’s fault, however. Of the $3.7 million awarded to the county by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the county has only received around $1.3 million in the first round of funding, with the other $2.4 million coming at a later date.
Humboldt received the $1.3 million in April, and the only money it’s spent so far has been on overhead. Scott Adair, economic development director for the county, that agency did not have strict criteria for how the funds should be used. Essentially, its only guidance was that the funds have to be spent in conjunction with the county’s equity program, and that funds must be used within a year.
“It has been frustratingly slow…. And we get it,” Adair told the Outpost. “People are anxious to get the funding out and we are too. Things are moving very quickly now and I just want to give my reassurances to the public that we are also equally interested in getting this funding out into the community as quickly as possible.”
So what’s the hold-up, you might ask?
Well, there was a debate about Proposition 209, the amendment to the California Constitution that prevents discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, and how that might affect the distribution of funds within the Equity Program.
“We had to have some conversations with our county counsel and with the state and it looks like we are fine and can move forward,” Adair said.
This hold-up caused the California Center for Rural Policy, the agency that helped prepare the assessment, to make an update to the final report, which will have to be sent back to the Board of Supervisors before any funds are dispersed.
“Once they approve that, we can then immediately go to a Notice of Funding Availability and start the application process,” Adair said.
The COVID-19 pandemic also slowed the process down quite a bit, and caused a lot of the Economic Development department to redirect most of its resources to helping businesses currently struggling with the pandemic.
Published: July 31, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News