Project Trellis Local Equity Program

Local Equity Program V2.0

The Local Equity Program V2.0 launched August 16, 2021 at 8am. The application period closed Friday October 29th, 2021 at 5pm. At this time the local equity program is no longer accepting applications, though based on funding available, may reopen. 

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.

V2.0 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 2020 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Income Limits (ILs) for Humboldt County.
  2. The applicant is a Humboldt County resident.
  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.

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

  1. The applicant has obtained or applied for a cannabis cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, retail or other cannabis-related permit (either interim or permanent), and the permit is for a business located in a community defined by Humboldt County as having a poverty rate of 17% or above.
  2. The applicant has engaged in or currently engages in small-scale cultivation of cannabis on property in Humboldt County owned, leased, or with the express permission of the owner, with a cultivation area 10,000 square feet, or less.
  3. The applicant is a woman, person of color, or LGBTQ individual who has worked or currently works in the cannabis industry.
  4. The applicant has obtained or applied for a cannabis permit, or who has worked in or currently works in the cannabis industry, in Humboldt County, and was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event.
  5.  The applicant experienced sexual assault, exploitation, domestic violence, and/or human trafficking as a result of participating in the cannabis industry.
  6.  The applicant was or is homeless or suffered a loss of housing as a result of marijuana enforcement.

Services

  1. Direct payment on the applicant’s behalf of fees for Application Assistance Meetings for cannabis related permits, with the County of Humboldt Cannabis Services Division of the Department of Planning and Building.
  2. Direct payment on the applicant’s behalf of deposits and permitting fees for Humboldt County Cannabis Activity Zoning Clearance Certificate, Special Permit, Conditional Use Permit, or Coastal Development Permit.
  3. Direct payment on the applicant’s behalf of fees by the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office for Weights and Measures, for sealing and annual registration of scales used in cannabis licensed businesses, or fees associate with Pesticide Applicator requirements.
  4. Direct grants to applicants of up to $10,000 toward the equity applicant or equity licensee’s annual fees and applicant or licensee’s contribution toward RMA work for a Humboldt County Road Maintenance Associations 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.
  5. Direct payment on the applicant's behalf of fees to agencies and/or professionals offering technical assistance for the formation of an incorporated cooperative, such as 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. Cost of project may not exceed $10,000 or funds remaining 
  6. Direct grants to applicants, not to exceed $10,000 per grant, for purposes of assuring compliance with regulatory requirements of the County or California permits or licenses, mitigating adverse environmental effects, or ensuring financial solvency, of cannabis cultivation or other activities including, but not limited to:
    1. Water storage for irrigation during forbearance periods of surface water diversion required by state or local regulations.
    2. Remediation and relocation of cannabis facilities located within streamside setbacks required by state or local regulation.
    3. Installation of solar electrical systems to replace diesel or gasoline generator power for off-grid cannabis facilities where connecting to the grid is economically infeasible.
    4. Rent for facilities where the above activity is occurring with documented consent of facility owner(s) of the cannabis cultivation and related activities.
  7. Direct payment on the applicant's behalf of fees to agencies and/or professionals who offer cannabis small business development assistance, including but not limited to business planning, loan application preparation, site location services, human resource management, capital procurement services, bookkeeping and accounting practices and systems, for Humboldt County-based cannabis businesses. Cost of project may not exceed $10,000 or funds remaining. 
  8. Direct payment on the applicant's behalf of fees for employment skill training for eligible equity participants and employees of their licensed cannabis operations in Humboldt County.
  9. Expungement services, as handled by the District Attorney's office, for cannabis-related convictions if eligible. Economic Development staff will assist applicants seeking information about expungement of cannabis-related convictions, and direct them to the District Attorney Office's for expedited review.
  10. Direct payment on the applicant’s behalf for the Equity Trade Certification mark and Equity Trade Certification (ETC) Programs through the Original Equity Group.

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. Those who are deemed eligible must also be individuals who will apply for, or have applied for a permit in their local jurisdiction, Local Equity Applicants, or those who have obtained a permit within their local jurisdiction, Local Equity Licensee. 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 Local Equity Program V1.0 documents

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