The County of Humboldt Cannabis Business Micro-grant, Marketing, and Local Equity Program, commonly referred to as ‘Project Trellis,’ is a trailblazing support initiative for the county’s cannabis industry. The three-tier program was developed on the heels of California’s legalization of recreational cannabis to provide business resources to cannabis businesses who otherwise wouldn’t have access due to federal restrictions. The program’s three levels of support are a Cannabis Business Micro-grant program, a Local Equity Program, and a Marketing and Promotion Program. The Cannabis Business Micro-grant program diverts the County’s Measure S funding and provides cannabis businesses an opportunity to apply for funding to cover business related expenditures. The Local Equity program provides resources to local communities and individuals who have been impacted by the War on Drugs. The Marketing and Promotion component is designed to promote and maintain Humboldt grown cannabis as a national and industry brand.
- Bolster the cannabis industry
- Protect future cannabis excise tax revenues by providing services to populations and communities in Humboldt who were adversely affected by the criminalization of cannabis
- Develop a framework for supportive programs designed to sustain and grow Humboldt’s cannabis industry
- Assist cannabis businesses as they work to overcome the financial and logistical challenges of coming into compliance
Project Trellis is in it's second year of operation and it is anticipated that there will be a continuation of benefits. Since the program’s launch the following has been accomplished:
- Fourteen companies out of seventy-one applicants were awarded a total of $179,658 with awards ranging from just under $10,000 to $50,000. A second grant round is currently under review by the Project Trellis Committee accepting and more businesses will benefit from the program as annual NOFAs are released.
- Project Trellis has funded staff to conduct and facilitate a number of community stakeholder meetings to discuss business needs of the cannabis industry and to address the needs of businesses adversely impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
- Project Trellis has funded staff to launch the Project Trellis Marketing and Branding campaign which will include the release of a Request for Proposals in early spring 2021.
- Project Trellis paid for the commissioning of a comprehensive Cannabis Stakeholder and Equity Assessment conducted by Humboldt State University’s California Center for Rural Policy.
- Project Trellis funded the writing of an equity grant application request to the state of California and was awarded a total of $3.7 million in equity funding, from Bureau of Cannabis Control and Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.
- Project Trellis staff has developed the manual for the Local Equity Program.