(a) There shall be a Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund to encourage the full participation in the commonwealth’s regulated marijuana industry of entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The fund shall consist of: (i) funds transferred pursuant to subsection (b) of section 14; and (ii) any funds from private sources, including, but not limited to, gifts, grants and donations. Money in the fund shall be used to make grants and loans, including no-interest loans and forgivable loans, to social equity program participants and economic empowerment priority applicants. The fund shall be administered by the executive office of housing and economic development, in consultation with the cannabis social equity advisory board established in subsection (b). Money remaining in this fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund. Expenditures from the fund shall not be subject to appropriation.
(b) There shall be a cannabis social equity advisory board, hereinafter referred to as the advisory board, consisting of individuals from, or with experience advocating on behalf of, communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The board shall consist of: 1 person appointed by the governor with a background in the cannabis industry, who shall serve as chair; 1 person appointed by the treasurer and receiver-general with a background in finance or commercial lending; 1 person appointed by the attorney general with a background in business development or entrepreneurship; and 2 persons appointed by a majority vote of the governor, treasurer and receiver-general and attorney general, both of whom shall have experience in business development, preferably in the cannabis industry. When making appointments, an appointing authority shall select individuals who are from, or have experience advocating for, communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. Each advisory board member shall serve for a 5-year term and may be reappointed by their appointing authority and shall serve without compensation except for reimbursement of actual expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties as a member or on behalf of the advisory board. Any vacancy in a seat on the advisory board shall be filled by the appropriate appointing authority within 60 days of the vacancy. The appointing authority may remove an advisory board member who was appointed by that appointing authority for cause. Before removal, the advisory board member shall be provided with a written statement of the reason for removal and an opportunity to be heard.
(c) The executive office of housing and economic development, in consultation with the advisory board, shall promulgate regulations governing the structure and administration of the fund, including, but not limited to: (i) requirements for social equity businesses and municipalities who host such businesses to apply to receive a grant or loan from the fund; (ii) conditions of such grants and loans; (iii) procedures pertaining to marijuana establishments or medical marijuana treatment centers that default on a loan from the fund; (iv) a process by which a license is sold as a result of a licensee’s default on a loan from the fund; (v) procedures and policies to ensure that applicants and grantees come from all license types; (vi) prohibitions against the sale, transfer or pledge of any asset or interest by a social equity business to an entity or individual other than a social equity business or an individual qualified as an economic empowerment priority applicant as defined by the commission’s regulations within an initial, specified timeframe to begin on the date the business is authorized to commence operations by the commission; provided, however, that the initial, specified timeframe shall not exceed 5 years; and (vii) terms for payment of a clawback requiring the commonwealth to recover 100 per cent of the grant and loan funds should a sale, transfer or pledge of any asset or interest by a social equity business occur in violation of clause (vi). The secretary of economic development, in consultation with the advisory board, shall be responsible for the selection of recipients, grant or loan values and conditions for such grants or loans; provided, that when selecting recipients, the secretary in consultation with the advisory board, shall take into consideration the racial, ethnic and gender demographics of the municipality in which the recipient businesses are located.
(d) Annually, not later than July 31, the executive office of housing and economic development, in consultation with the advisory board, shall report on expenditures from the fund in the previous fiscal year. The report shall include, but shall not be limited to: (i) information that identifies and describes the amount of money expended from the fund; (ii) a list of the entities that received a grant or loan from the fund; (iii) the geographic location of recipient entities; (iv) the form of funding received by each entity; (v) information indicating whether each recipient entity is a minority-owned entity; and (vi) any other information that the executive office and the advisory board deem appropriate to ensure equity and accountability. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on cannabis policy. The executive office shall make the report publicly available on its website.
(e) The violation of a condition of a grant or loan made pursuant to this section or any other violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than 50 per cent of the violator’s grant or loan value per violation, in addition to funds paid under clause (vii) of subsection (c), if applicable.
Contact for Mass. General Laws c.94G § 14A
|Last updated:||May 4, 2023|