Thousands of cannabis growers potentially could become legal, if a state grant comes through for Nevada County.
A total of $35 million is available in grants from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The county hopes to access almost $2.4 million of that.
The county’s application is due Dec. 13, and grants would be awarded no later than March 15.
“Generally speaking, we are looking competitive for this grant when talking to and looking at comparable rural communities,” said Building Director Craig Griesbach. “We will not know how likely we will be to receive total requested funds until those funds are officially awarded by the state.”
Nevada County meets grant qualifications, and is applying for a total of $2,395,654 to fund its Cannabis Local Equity Program.
One purpose of the program is to advance economic justice for communities harmed by cannabis prohibition by providing support to the county, as it eliminates barriers to allow entry into the newly permitted cannabis industry.
A May Civil Grand Jury report stated that overcoming the high cost of entry into the permitted market would be a way to persuade illegal growers to abide by compliance rules, as fees can reach up to $85,000. The report estimated between 3,500 and 4,000 growers were non-compliant.
Griesbach said he did not have an estimate of how many cultivators might voluntarily come into compliance with the county’s local program.
“Staff are working internally and also with a professional grant writing firm in an effort to submit a competitive grant application and receive as much of the funding allocation possible for this local program,” said Griesbach.
He also pointed out that Nevada County is one of the few rural counties in the state that has an established equity program.
“So, we’re optimistic