The bill creates a program in the office of economic development and international trade (OEDIT) to support entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry, which will primarily assist social equity licensees, as that term is used in the "Colorado Marijuana Code". The program consists of:
- Loans to social equity licensees for seed capital and ongoing business expenses;
- Grants to social equity licensees to support innovation and job creation and organizations that support marijuana businesses to be used to support innovation and job creation of social equity licensees; and
- Technical assistance for marijuana business owners, prioritizing social equity licensees who have been awarded a loan or grant through the program.
OEDIT is authorized to directly administer the program itself or through one or more partner entities. In consultation with other relevant state agencies, industry experts, and other stakeholders, OEDIT is required to establish policies setting forth the parameters and eligibility for the program. OEDIT is required to consult with the Colorado economic development commission regarding the administration of the program. OEDIT is also required to submit a report by July 1 of 2022 and 2023 to the governor and legislative committees detailing program expenditures.
The program is initially funded with a $4 million transfer from the marijuana tax cash fund to the newly created marijuana entrepreneur fund, from which the money is continuously appropriated to OEDIT for the program. OEDIT may use some of this money for the program's administrative expenses. Beginning with the fiscal year 2022-23, the general assembly may appropriate additional money from the marijuana tax cash fund to the marijuana entrepreneur fund.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)