The Cannabis Business Grant is a funding opportunity for social equity cannabis businesses who have been awarded or are in the process of applying for a regulated business license from the Marijuana Enforcement Division. This program was developed to support cannabis entrepreneurs through access to capital to promote social equity, innovation, and job creation across the industry. Eligible businesses are now divided into three categories based on their needs: foundational, foundational plus, or growth.
Applications for this program are closed.
Eligible cannabis businesses must:
- have 51% of the business owned by a Social Equity Licensee(s) from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (beginning at the time of application and for 24 months after award disbursement)
- have been awarded or started an application for a Regulated Business License from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division and the local licensing authority where the business intends to operate
- be in Good Standing with the Colorado Secretary of State
To be eligible for either the Foundational or Growth category, businesses must meet at least two of the three eligibility requirements for that category.
Foundational - $25k maximum award
Growth - $50k maximum award
We are also excited to announce the Foundational Plus category. Foundational Plus grant applicants must have received a Foundational grant award previously and must currently be operational. In addition to these mandatory criteria, to qualify, a business must meet ONE of the following additional criteria:
- Have added at least 1 FTE;
- Have an annual or annualized revenue of at least $250,000; or
- The grant project proposal is written so that the funds are utilized to assist in hiring of staff
- Note: This can include proposals that expand the business’s capacity to hire an additional employee
Previous grant awardees are not eligible to reapply to the same category in which they won their award. Businesses that received a Foundational grant may reapply for the Growth grant, if the business meets the Growth eligibility criteria. To prove eligibility, the business must provide suitable documentation such as payroll that shows the stated number of employees, financial records indicating annual revenue, and/or transaction history stating the business' operational start date.
Technical assistance requirement
Applicants must complete the CannaBusiness Foundations Technical Assistance online learning modules to be eligible for a grant. If an applicant does not complete the technical assistance by the time the grant application is submitted, the applicant will have 21 calendar days to complete the technical assistance or forfeit their grant application submission and potential grant award. Businesses may substitute this technical assistance requirement if they have previously completed 1 of the following training programs:
The maximum grant award amount for Foundational grant recipients is $25,000. The maximum grant award amount for Foundational Plus grant recipients is $20,000. The maximum grant award amount for Growth grant recipients is $50,000. Only one grant will be awarded for the same business, regardless of how many social equity owners are associated with the business.
Applicants that receive a grant award are required to match that award with their own funds at a certain percentage, as designated below. Applicants must have dedicated funds that are equal to the required percentage below. Dedicated money means that cash is held in an account by the applicant, funds are traceable, and the cash is committed to the execution of the project proposal.
Award matching funding is required at the time of Cannabis Business Grant award distribution. For this award match, applicants may not use in-kind contributions, OEDIT funding, or other state funding that they received directly or through a third-party.
- Foundational category: businesses can apply for up to $25,000 and must document 10% matching of the amount awarded to be used for the development of the project proposed
- Foundational Plus category: businesses can apply for up to $20,000 and must document 10% of the amount awarded to be used for the development of the project proposed
- Growth category: businesses can apply for up to $50,000 and must document 30% matching of the amount awarded to be used for the development of the project proposed
The matching amount does not offset the total grant award, but is to be applied to the total award. As an example, a business that receives a $25,000 grant is expected to apply $2,500 to their total project fund, for a total of $27,500 set aside specifically for the project proposed in the grant application.
First-time users will need to register for an account in OEDIT's application portal to begin the application process. Applicants should complete the entire application process themselves, as is it a requirement that the login and submitted names match the names of the owner(s) qualifying as social equity licensees.
The application portal may take up to 48 hours to activate your account, so please leave time to create your account and access it before the application period closes. No application submission extensions will be given for delays related to this 48 hour activation period. The application is mobile-friendly, though users may have the best experience when using a computer.
Once you have created your account or logged in, you will need to navigate to the Cannabis Business Office section in the application portal. The application system allows users to save their progress and return later to complete their application. Applicants must submit the grant application before the deadline, so we recommend having the completed forms and information ready before you begin.
Steps to apply
- Read through this program page to learn if you are eligible for the grant.
- If you are a first-time user, create an account in the OEDIT Application Portal 48 hours before starting the pre-application.
- Complete the pre-application to confirm you meet basic eligibility requirements.
- If approved, review our Project Proposal Scoring Rubrics, (Doc) and complete an application in the OEDIT Application Portal.
- We will receive and review your application.
- We will contact you if we need additional information.
- We will select the qualified applicants for the committee review process.
- Committee will review the qualified projects according to evaluation criteria.
- Each committee member will submit their evaluation with scoring results and the dollar amounts to be awarded.
- We will review the committee evaluations, confirm the final list of awarded applicants, and notify applicants of whether they will be issued grant funding and dollar amounts.
Completing the Pre-Application
The pre-application asks for basic business information to confirm if eligibility requirements are met before applying to the grant. If a grant application is denied at the pre-application step, the applicant has until the grant application period closes to resubmit your pre-application and full application. If your full application is rejected, you may plan to reapply to a future grant application program.
- Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State
- Finding of Suitability Approval Letter from the MED (Social Equity License)
- Regulated Business License from the MED, or the started application that will be submitted
- Marijuana License from the local licensing authority you intend to operate, or the started application that will be submitted
- Certificate of Completion from the CBO Business Foundations TA Program. Note: those that completed TCC or MIG programs also qualify
Grant recipients will be selected based on a competitive application process and the total monetary award will be determined after a formal committee review of project proposals. Applications should clearly define the use of funds tied to any grant award. While formal quotes are not required in your application, it is beneficial to include items such as project overviews, estimated costs, and the benefit of utilizing the grant for the proposed project.
Grants are intended to support innovation and job creation for new and small cannabis businesses with a Social Equity License and Regulated Business License. To prepare your project proposal for your application, more information can be found on our scoring rubrics.
Please note that final details for the application process and scoring rubrics may be added or updated before the grant opens on July 31, 2023.
Applicants must apply using 1 of the following 5 proposal categories for their project proposal:
- Brick and mortar regulatory requirements
- Security system install/upgrade
- HVAC install/upgrade
- Improved facilities
- Technical and expert requirements
- Consulting for technical advancements
- Attorneys for operational agreements, contracts, and other legal documents
- Licensing and regulatory fees
- Regulatory requirements
- Licensing fees
- Operational needs
- Hiring an additional person to expand operations
- Buying equipment to increase output
- Buying an additional vehicle for fleet expansion
- Innovation geared towards social equity causes
- Innovative offering or practice
Awarded businesses must agree to provide documentation of how the funds were spent and any additional documentation required by the Cannabis Business Office. Awarded businesses will send a 6-month and 1-year report about the development of the awarded project.
Please note that there may be tax implications to accepting this grant. We recommend that you consult a tax specialist to better inform you of your potential tax liability.
As we finalize informational sessions' dates and details, we will add the information here. Learn more about the grant application process by watching the Cannabis Business Grant Application Tutorials below.