DENVER — The City of Denver’s Department of Economic Development and Opportunity is launching a new program designed to boost marijuana ownership among social share applicants.
The city defines social equality applicants as individuals disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.
“We work with a local company, a local organization called the Color of cannabis, to provide a training program, a technical assistance program, to entrepreneurs who want to get into this industry,” said Chelsea Rosty, chief of staff for the Denver Department of Economic Development and Opportunity. “This provides them with a training program that goes through everything from financing to regulation to marketing to challenges within the space.”
The Cannabis Social Equity Technical Assistance training spans 10 weeks of curriculum and covers topics such as history, politics, compliance and best practices.
To be eligible, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Lived in an als an for at least 15 years between the 1980s and 2010s. designated census channel Occasional Zone or Disproportionately Affected Area† or
- The parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, child, or minor under their guardianship has been arrested for a marijuana violation, convicted of a marijuana violation, or was subject to civil forfeiture in connection with a marijuana study; or
- The applicant’s household income in the year prior to the application did not exceed 50% of the state median income as measured by the number of persons in the household.
“We’re really trying to create a level playing field because, frankly, this is an industry dominated by white, privileged individuals,” Rosty said.
Rosty says the city will use $500.00 of cannabis tax revenues to fund the training, and hopes to serve 100 entrepreneurs over the duration of the program.
The deadline to apply is Friday 15 July before 5 p.m
Shanda Le Compte, owner of Canna Couriersa marijuana delivery company in metropolitan Denver, participated in a similar 10-week program through Color of Cannabis.
“I think it’s a fantastic program. It teaches you everything from your business licenses, your pitch deck, everything you need to start your business,” said Le Compte. “I think the most important thing that applicants need is the resources to get ahead in the industry.”
But Le Compte says even with the training it was challenging to break into the industry.
“We’ve been licensed for over a year now and we’re not working and delivering nothing,” said Le Compte.
Denver city leaders hoped that reserving all marijuana dispensing licenses for social stock applicants like Le Compte and requiring pharmacies to work with them to provide the delivery would open the door for more social stock applicants to get the delivery. to enter the industry. But according to city leaders, many dispensaries have no interest in these partnerships.
“I think the biggest struggle we face is financial,” said Le Compte. “We are your ordinary people just trying to follow our dreams.”
Le Compte says training is great, but additional resources are needed.
“I think the state should help open those jurisdictions that don’t allow the supply of cannabis because Denver is saturated. You can go to any block and go to a pharmacy, you know, but there are people who live outside of Denver, like Arvada or Westminster, or Parker, so many cities around us that don’t have that access. We would benefit from that,” said Le Compte.
Le Compte says that for a Colorado industry that reached $2.2 billion in revenue in 2021, greater access to financing would also be helpful.