Project Trellis Local Equity Program

Local Equity Program V2.2 - (10/24/2023)

Applications for This Round of Funding are Not Yet Open 

The Local Equity Program V2.2 is not currently accepting applications but following the recent adoption of the modified eligibility criteria and the receipt of CEG funds from the State, EcDev Staff are expecting to open the next round of funding in early 2024.

Program Overview

The Project Trellis Local Equity Program was developed in response to California Senate Bill 1294 the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018. Through interviews and data, the Humboldt County Cannabis Equity Assessment identified those most effected by the criminalization of cannabis in Humboldt County. It was identified that certain populations and neighborhoods, particularly small growers, and those effected by past policies, while participating in the cannabis industry, were negatively impacted. The findings of the Cannabis Equity Assessment, were then used to create the Program's equity eligibility requirements, which are outlined in the Local Equity Program Manual. Additionally the Local Equity Program Manual outlines the services available to those who meet the eligibility requirements. The Program implements the State of California and County of Humboldt’s legislative goals to further equity among those impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.

V2.2 Eligibility qualifications

To be considered for Local Equity Program eligibility individuals need to meet all of the following initial qualifications: 

  1. The applicant’s household is at or below the moderate-income level based on current year available Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Income Limits (ILs) for Humboldt County.
  2. The applicant resided in Humboldt County for at least five years during the period 1971-2016.
  3. The applicant is a shareholder or has at least 20% ownership interest in a cannabis business, such as cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, retail, testing, laboratory, or micro-business.
    1. 50% if there are no other individuals with an ownership interest in the cannabis business who meet the Minimum Local Equity Program Criteria.
    2. 25% if there is only one other individual with an ownership interest in the cannabis business who meets the Minimum Local Equity Program Criteria.
    3. 20% if there are two or more other individuals with an ownership interest in the cannabis business who meet the Minimum Local Equity Program
  4. The applicant is a Humboldt County resident.

After meeting the initial qualifications, individuals must meet one of the following eligibly criteria: 

  1. The applicant was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related enforcement event.
  2. The applicant has a parent, sibling, or child who was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense (including as a juvenile) or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related enforcement event.
  3. The applicant experienced sexual assault, exploitation, domestic violence, and/or human trafficking as a result of participating in the cannabis industry.
  4.  The applicant was or is homeless or suffered a loss of housing as a result of marijuana enforcement.

Services

The LEP may provide funds for specific cannabis-related service items through direct grants to an LEP recipient, or through direct payments on behalf of an LEP recipient to partnership organizations. The LEP may also provide additional services and resources to LEP recipients. Recipients of LEP funding are eligible to receive a maximum of up to sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000), in aggregate funding over all rounds of the LEP.

A. Grant Payments to Recipients

The LEP allows for the funding, through grants, for a maximum of up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per equity recipient on eligible service items, in aggregate over all LEP grant rounds. Service items eligible for grant funding may include:

  1. Annual fees and contribution toward work for a Humboldt County Road Maintenance Association (RMA) for public and private road networks providing access to cannabis activity operations by eligible cannabis equity program applicants or licensees, where such road networks may adversely impact watersheds providing habitat for threatened or endangered species. 
  2. Legal assistance for the formation of an Agricultural Cooperative or Cannabis Cooperative Association pursuant to California Business and Professions Code sections 26220 -26231.2, with majority membership comprised of Humboldt County cannabis permit applicants or licensees. 
  3.  Processing of cannabis product through a licensed cannabis processor 
  4. Transportation of cannabis product through a license cannabis distributor
  5. Local and state cannabis taxes 
  6. Capital improvements for; purposes of assuring compliance with regulatory requirements of County or California licenses
  7. Work to meet California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lake & Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA) compliance 
  8. Application and program fees for cannabis business certifications 
  9. Fees to agencies and/or professionals who offer cannabis small business development assistance for Humboldt County-based cannabis businesses. 
  10. State cannabis licensing costs 
  11. Rent for facilities associated with cannabis business 
  12. Cannabis business startup costs or financial solvency needs

B. Grant Payments to Partnership Organizations on Behalf of Recipients

The LEP will fund, through direct payment to partnership organizations on behalf of the equity recipient, of up to fifteen-thousand dollars ($15,000) per recipient, in aggregate over all grant rounds. These funds will be available to any LEP recipient for the length of the grant agreement. Organizations eligible to receive direct payments on behalf of the equity recipients include;

  1. County of Humboldt Cannabis Services Division of the Department of Planning and Building: Direct payment on the LEP recipient’s behalf of fees for application assistance meetings, deposits, and permitting fees for cannabis related permits including: Zoning Clearance Certificates, Special Permits, Conditional Use Permits, or Coastal Development Permits.
  2. Coast Central Credit Union: Direct payment on the LEP recipient’s behalf for one year of Cannabis Business Account fees through Coast Central Credit Union
  3. County of Humboldt Agricultural Commissioner: Direct payment on the LEP recipient’s behalf for Weights and Measures requirements, including sealing and annual registration of scales used in cannabis licensed businesses, or fees associate with Pesticide Applicator requirements.
  4. College of the Redwoods: Payment on the LEP recipient’s behalf for cannabis business classes including but not limited to Accounting, Bookkeeping, Marketing, Grant Writing, Human Resource, Business Planning, etc.
  5. Cal Poly Humboldt: College of Extended Educational and Global Engagement: Payment on the LEP recipient’s behalf for Cal/OSHA cannabis health and safety training

C. Additional Services

The LEP may support additional services to help equity recipients succeed in the Commercial Cannabis Market.

  1. Expungement services

The LEP offers equity recipients expungement services for cannabis-related convictions as aligns with California state expungement requirements. Humboldt County Economic Development staff will assist recipients seeking information about expungement services, and direct them to the District Attorney’s Office for expedited review.

General Program Information

Governance

The Program is governed by the County of Humboldt’s Ordinance 2623, Resolution 19-23 and 19-24, applicable guidelines of the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”), The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018, and other applicable local and state laws and regulations.

SB1294

California State Senate Bill 1294 (SB1294) the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 dedicated "grant funds to assist local equity licensees in that local jurisdiction to gain entry to, and to successfully operate in, the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace." These state grant funds are available to local jurisdictions who have a created a local equity program, and support that program with a contribution of local funds. As defined in SB1294, the local jurisdiction can then administer these funds to individuals who are deemed equity eligible based on meeting the requirements outline in the jurisdiction's Local Equity Program Manual. These funds than can be issued to those Local Equity Applicants and Licensees for services that assist with entry into and successful operation within the State Cannabis marketplace. 

Humboldt County Cannabis Equity Assessment (CEA)

The first addition of the Humboldt County Cannabis Equity Assessment (CEA) was written in 2019 to assess the effects the War on Drugs had on the cannabis community in Humboldt County. The County Administrative Office, Economic Development Division contracted with the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) at Humboldt State University and the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) to research and prepare secondary data to create the CEA. Additionally, the Assessment acknowledges that the legalization of cannabis creates remarkable business opportunities in the future, however not everyone who has made a living in the past is able to thrive in the future. The CEA provides recommendations that will assure assistance is provided to community members that experienced the most harm from decades of criminalization of cannabis and assist them in participation in the legalized industry in Humboldt County. The CEA established that Humboldt has been hit hard by the criminalization of cannabis, and a targeted, data-driven and well-funded equity program can help certain populations and neighborhoods, particularly small growers and those impacted from past policies that may be left behind, into a legal, sustainable economic future.  

Humboldt County Local Equity Program (LEP) Manual

The purpose of the Local Equity Program manual is to describe the qualifications for, and services to be provided by, the Humboldt County Cannabis Local Equity Program (LEP). The manual is intended to be updated annually, taking into consideration feedback from our State funders, interdepartmental partners, stakeholders, and cannabis community members. 

Program Funding

The Local Equity Program (LEP) receives funding in part from Measure S funds and State Cannabis Equity Grant (CEG) funds. The LEP receives a percentage of the 10% Measure S allocation provided to Project Trellis. Additionally, the LEP has received three awards of State CEG funds. The first award, from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), in the amount of $1.33m. The second award, from the Governor's Office Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in the amount of $2.4m. The third award, from GO-Biz, in the amount of $1.05m. All State funds are budgeted as 10% administrative, 10% direct technical assistance, and 80% grants. 

For More Information

With specific questions about applications contact Project Trellis via email at ProjectTrellis@co.humboldt.ca.us, or call (707) 445-7745.

Project Trellis Equity Program V2.2

Below are documents associated with the Project Trellis Local Equity Program V2.2

Project Trellis Local Equity Program V2.1 documents

Below are documents associated with the current Project Trellis Local Equity Program V2.1

Project Trellis Local Equity Program V2.0 documents

Below are documents associated with the closed Project Trellis Local Equity Program V2.0.

Project Trellis Local Equity Program V1.0 documents

Below are documents associated with the closed Project Trellis Local Equity Program V1.0.