Thoughts and ideas shared to web community

Sacramento Cannabis Social Equity Program

by Vende Posted in Diversity

Sacramento Social Equity Program

The Sacramento City Council approved the Sacramento Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program in August 2018. The program was initiated to help entrepreneurs in the legal cannabis industry who were negatively affected by the cannabis enforcement policies.  The Sacramento City Council used data collected by the police department’s Crime Analysis Unit. The data identified the eight neighborhoods that experienced disproportionate cannabis arrests and convictions between 2004 and 2017.

 For at least five years, individuals who have lived in these neighborhoods are eligible to receive professional and technical assistance to help them open cannabis-based businesses.  Individuals who were also arrested and convicted of cannabis-related offenses between 1980 and 2011 can also benefit from the Sacramento CORE program. The same case applies to immediate family members of convicts. 

Successful applicants of the Sacramento CORE program will enjoy several benefits from the Sacramento City Council. The city will waiver the cannabis business permit fees, which at times can be very costly. The CORE program offers priority processing of the eligible applicants' permits and professional advice on how to run their cannabis businesses. The Sacramento social equity will provide additional applicants with cannabis-related arrests and convictions with criminal record expungement assistance. 


Sacramento CORE Program Overview

What is the Sacramento CORE Program? This is a program run by the city of Sacramento, meant to assist individuals and communities who face barriers and difficulties starting a cannabis business due to disparate historical enforcement of cannabis crimes. The City Council authorized the creation of the CORE program on November 28, 2017, so as to address the negative impacts of disproportionate enforcement of cannabis-related regulations. The City Council adopted the resolution 2018-0323 on August 9, 2018. The program adopted a zero-dollar fee and offered needed funding for business permits and licenses for CORE applicants. 

Sacramento CORE Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the CORE Program, they must qualify under one of the five classifications below. Classifications 1 and 2 are for individuals, while Classifications 3, 4, and 5 are for businesses.  For program eligibility verification.

Individual CORE Applicants Eligibility

Classifications 1

Lives or have lived in a low-income household in Sacramento AND:

  • Have been arrested in Sacramento for cannabis-related crime between 1980-2011 or

  • An immediate family member who meets the description above

Classifications 2

Lived in a low-income household in the following zip codes for five consecutive years between 1980 and 2011: 95811, 95815, 95817, 95820, 95823, 95824, 95826, 95828, 95818, 95838, and 95832.

Business CORE Applicants Eligibility

Classifications 3

Businesses with no less than 51% ownership by Classifications 1& 2 individuals.

Classifications 4

CORE Program Incubator. CORE Incubator means a cannabis business which as a condition for receiving priority processing, either:

  • Hosts a participant; 30% of its workforce are Classification 1 or 2 eligible participants, measured by hours worked; and contracts no less than 51% of its cannabis products or services and ancillary business support with eligible participants; or

  • Is a shared manufacturing cannabis business and donates at least 10% of its hours of operation to allow participant(s) to utilize 100% of its business’ floor space and equipment; or

  • Is a cannabis business that sells, gives, or otherwise transfers no less than a 33% equity share in the CORE Incubator's cannabis business to eligible CORE participants or participants; 30% of its workforce be Classification 1 or 2 eligible; and contracts no less than 30% of its cannabis and ancillary business with Classification 1 or 2 eligible participants.


CORE Incubators shall host, donate to, employ, contract with, sell, give, or transfer to participants that reside within the city district in which the incubator sits. If no such participants exist, incubators shall utilize participants from other applicable areas.

Classifications 5

Cannabis Social Enterprise with no less than 51% ownership by Classifications 1& 2 individuals.

Additional Services in the Sacramento CORE Program

Apart from providing professional and technical assistance to successful CORE applicants, the program has additional benefits. Some of the key benefits of the core program include:

CORE Capital Cannabis Loan Program

CORE Capital, a 6-year interest-free loan program for cannabis businesses, is now available through grant funds from the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) through the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions. Individuals who meet CORE classifications 1 and 2 and businesses who meet classifications 3, 4, and 5 can qualify for up to $50,000 in initial loan and follow-on loans in increments of $25,000 for a total loan of up to $125,000. CORE Capital will be serviced by Elevate Impact Sacramento.

CORE Business Reimbursement Program

Business Operating Permit (BOP) applicants who have completed or are currently enrolled in the CORE Program are eligible to receive a reimbursement of up to $25,000 for expenses incurred towards obtaining their permit.  Requesters must own at least 51% of the cannabis business.  Reimbursement funds are provided through the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) Equity Grant Fund Award to the City of Sacramento.  Read the City Council Report HERE accepting funds from the BCC on February 4, 2020.  

Beginning November 23, 2020, the business reimbursement program will re-open and accept reimbursement requests until remaining funds in the amount of $91,532.33 are paid out.  All requests will be processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

Reimbursement requests will be accepted only for those:

  • Who have submitted a valid BOP application (with a valid CUP) since the 8/7/20 reimbursement request deadline

  • Who have received under $25,000 per BOP in reimbursements (difference only)

  • Whose requests were denied due to missing the deadline. Must submit a new reimbursement request to be eligible. Valid BOP application required.

As of March 2021, the CORE reimbursement program has expended all its funding.  Reimbursement requests are no longer accepted.


CORE 2.0

The CORE 2.0 is a workgroup whose purpose is to develop recommendations to the City Council to make CORE a permanent program.  The two-year pilot program is scheduled to sunset in April 2021. CORE applicants can receive updates on CORE-related policy items or to receive invitations to CORE stakeholder meetings. To participate in future CORE 2.0 discussions, please send an email to and request to be added to the CORE 2.0 group discussion list. Please send an email to and request to be added to the CORE email list to join the CORE stakeholders platform. You will have access to videos and presentations from previous CORE stakeholder meetings. 

Even though lack of funding might be a challenge to fund the CORE program. The city of Sacramento has been receiving funds from the Bureau of Cannabis Control in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).  The city council has noted that it might need to change the program as it progresses. Jay Schenirer, City Councilmember, “This is going to be a learning experience for us, and we are going to make some mistakes. We can't be afraid to fail. This is an experiment in a lot of ways. I hope that we will learn from it and continue to make it better as we go forward."

The city of Sacramento is hopeful that its CORE program will be a success, especially with the constant support from the state, through the Bureau of Cannabis Control, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).  

As you can see, there are so many issues around the social equity program and the problems continue to pile on top of each other. As the programs force people into tougher situations, we are always here to help. Learn more at