As state regulators gear up to launch what will be one of the country’s biggest legal cannabis markets, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul put equity in the spotlight with a new $200 million fund. In her State of the State speech on Wednesday, Hochul outlined sweeping budget priorities from climate action to education. While neither cannabis or hemp came up during Hochul’s speech, Hochul included in her far-reaching budget plan a $200 million public-private equity fund to “promote equity and economic justice in New York’s cannabis industry.” The seed money will come from licensing fees and tax revenue, according to the State of the State book, and the fund will also “leverage significant private investment.” While estimates vary, New York’s cannabis industry is expected to top $4 billion. Access to capital is a major hurdle for many cannabis industry hopefuls, especially those who seek to qualify as equity applicants. The state defines equity applicants a bit differently than other states by including distressed farmers and women and veteran-owned businesses, for example, along with applicants that come from communities affected by disproportionate enforcement of cannabis laws.
Alyson Martin, Cannabis Wire, 01/04/2022 19:00:00