California state officials revealed dozens of community organizations are set to share nearly $30 million in grants courtesy of marijuana sales tax revenues.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) will issue the funds through the California Community Reinvestments Grants (CalCRG) program to 58 nonprofits that “help advance health, wellness and economic justice for populations and communities harmed by the War on Drugs.”
“These grants serve communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs,” GO-Biz said via a press statement. “Harsh federal and state drug policies enacted during that period led to the mass incarceration of people of color, decreased access to social services, loss of educational attainment due to diminished federal financial aid eligibility, prohibitions on the use of public housing and other public assistance, and the separation of families.”
The selected nonprofits work on a range of issues, including mental health support, medical care, substance misuse treatment, legal aid and job placement for communities that have typically been over-policed for drug law enforcement compared to wealthier areas. The announcement comes a little over six months since GO-Biz opened the grant application process to community organizations that meet the initiative’s qualifying criteria.
“The California Community Reinvestments Grants program is a resource to help communities overcome the presence of systemic restrictions and barriers to opportunity and equity,” said Dee Myers, director of GO-Biz.
The near $30 million in grant funding available almost matches that awarded to nonprofits in Illinois through marijuana sales tax revenues. Issued through the state’s Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, $31.5 million has been raised in the first year of legal sales for community organizations working to repair the harms of cannabis criminalization in Illinois.
News of the cannabis-derived funding for nonprofits in California follows New York’s passage of a marijuana legalization bill that commits the state to setting aside 40 percent of marijuana sales tax revenues for investment in communities at the frontlines of the war on drugs. With analysts projecting the adult-use market in New York to generate $245 million in annual marijuana tax revenues by 2024-2025, qualifying community organizations in the state are well-positioned to benefit.