Massachusetts Bill Seeks Cannabis Social Equity Fund & Loan Forgiveness

Massachusetts state Sen. Nick Collins (D) recently unveiled a new proposal for awarding business loans and loan forgiveness to social equity applicants.

Specifically, SD.2072 would establish a “Cannabis Social Equity Loan Trust Fund” that would make “no-interest loans, forgivable loans, or grants” for equity program participants in order to “encourage the full participation of entrepreneurs from communities … disproportionately impacted by … marijuana prohibition and enforcement.” The account would be funded by 25 percent of the state’s Cannabis Excise Tax revenue, as well as funds from private sources including gifts, grants, and donations. Additionally, regulators would be tasked with developing procedures “to forgive all or a portion of these loans subject to an analysis of anticipated revenues.”

The proposal was lauded by activists with the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC), an advocacy group that lobbies for restorative justice and the decolonization of the cannabis industry.

“This legislation is a major win for us,” said Saskia VannJames, an MRCC lobbyist and board member.

“When s.2650 was originally proposed only loans and a 10% was offered and originally presented favorably to the public by our commissioners, and surprisingly backed by many industry leaders. MRCC knew the addition of grants, loan forgiveness, and the increase for 25% set aside was vital for our communities and have been pushing for Massachusetts to at least MATCH what has already been done in other states. This is the community’s win and we are glad to be the people’s champion and will continue to work as the voice of the consumer.” — VannJames, in an email

Massachusetts lawmakers are also considering bills that would allow for the automatic expungement of previous minor cannabis crimes, the decriminalization of all drugs, and the study/regulation of psychedelics including psilocybin, Marijuana Moment reports.

Originally Published on 2021 02 23 by Graham Abbott |

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