Colorado Marijuana Social Equity Businesses Would Be Defined Under New Bill

A person would be eligible if they met at least one of three criteria

Colorado lawmakers advanced a newly introduced bill on Wednesday that would create a statewide definition of which businesses qualify as marijuana social equity license applicants and are eligible for certain incentives.

The legislation, which is the product of months of dialogue between reform advocates, industry stakeholders and legislators, was filed by Rep. James Coleman (D) with just days left in the legislative session and cleared the House Finance Committee in a vote of 9-2 just one day after its introduction. It would build on a current statewide accelerator program allowing eligible individuals to use existing marijuana facilities to build their business.

As it stands, only those from economically disadvantaged communities qualify for the accelerator program. This bill would create two additional categories for eligibility, with a focus on restorative justice.

Under the proposal, a person would be eligible under the social equity program if they met at least one of three criteria: 1) they lived in a designated economically distressed community for a minimum of 15 years between 1980 and 2010, 2) the applicant or a member of their immediate family has been arrested or convicted for a marijuana offense or 3) their income is at or below an amount to be determined later in rulemaking.

“A person who meets the criteria in this section for a social equity licensee, pursuant to the rule and agency discretion, may be eligible for incentives available through the Department of Revenue or Office of Economic Development and International Trade, including but not limited to a reduction in application or license fees,” the text of the bill states.

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