Colorado’s CBO Supports 50+ Modules for Cannabis Social Equity

Cannabis Social Equity

Colorado launches educational program as part of new cannabis social equity program

The state of Colorado is taking steps to promote social equity in the cannabis industry by launching an educational program that aims to provide guidance and support to social equity entrepreneurs from communities that were adversely affected by marijuana prohibition. The program, called CannaBusiness Growth, is a collaboration between the Colorado Cannabis Business Office (CBO) and Vangst, a Denver-based company that offers a jobs platform and talent network for the cannabis sector.

CannaBusiness Growth is an online learning platform that consists of more than 50 modules, covering various aspects of running a successful cannabis business, such as compliance, finance, sales and marketing, according to a news release issued by the CBO. The program is designed to bridge the knowledge gap between industry professionals and social equity entrepreneurs, and to equip them with the skills and resources they need to thrive in the competitive and regulated cannabis market.

“Bridging the knowledge gap between industry professionals and social equity entrepreneurs is what we do best at Vangst and it’s clear that the industry needs to support organizations like the CBO to enhance social equity in the cannabis sector,” Vangst CEO Karson Humiston said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with the CBO to create CannaBusiness Growth, a comprehensive and accessible educational program that will empower social equity entrepreneurs to achieve their goals and contribute to the growth and diversity of the Colorado cannabis industry.”

The CBO, which was established in July 2021, is an arm of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The CBO’s mission is to create and manage programs and policies that support the development and sustainability of the cannabis industry in Colorado, with a focus on social equity, public health and environmental responsibility. The CBO also oversees the Cannabis Business Loan Program, which provides low-interest loans to social equity applicants who want to start or expand their cannabis businesses.

The Cannabis Business Loan Program, which was launched in October 2021, is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the CBO. The program aims to address the financial barriers and challenges that social equity entrepreneurs face in accessing capital and credit in the cannabis industry. The program offers loans ranging from $50,000 to $250,000, with flexible repayment terms and low interest rates. The CBO announced its first two loans to social equity-owned cannabis businesses in October, totaling $200,000.

CannaBusiness Growth is part of a wider effort by the state of Colorado to support social equity in the cannabis industry, which is one of the largest and most mature in the country. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and has since generated more than $10 billion in sales and more than $1.6 billion in tax revenue, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. However, the state also recognizes the historical and ongoing harms of marijuana prohibition, especially on communities of color, low-income communities and rural communities, and is committed to creating opportunities and pathways for their social equity participation and inclusion in the cannabis industry.

The CBO, in partnership with Vangst and other stakeholders, hopes that CannaBusiness Growth will help create a more diverse and equitable cannabis industry in Colorado, by providing education, mentorship and support to social equity entrepreneurs. The program is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the cannabis industry, but priority will be given to social equity applicants who are eligible for the Cannabis Business Loan Program.


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