The state of Illinois will make $8.75 million in forgivable loans available to all conditionally approved social equity applicants, providing immediate access to capital in amounts between $50,000 and $500,000.
The loans will be fully financed by the state.
Governor JB Pritzker, who made the announcement on November 11, said that equity has “always been at the core” of the state’s legislation process.
“But I know that if we want to create a truly equitable cannabis industry in Illinois, we must give our business owners the resources they need to grow — both figuratively and literally,” he said in a press release. “That’s why we are launching this Direct Forgivable Loan Program to provide a much-needed jumpstart for social equity applicants who’ve faced hurdles in pursuit of capital funding.”
According to the release, the Cannabis Social Equity Loan Program is a first-of-its-kind program that launched in the summer of 2021 with the goal of providing low-interest loans to social equity licensees through a partnership with lending institutions. However, program participants have encountered significant delays in receiving capital through financial institutions.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s new loan program will make funding from the state available to eligible program participants, regardless of their original loan application status with a lending partner.
A total of $8.75 million will be available through the new program. Craft growers are eligible to receive up to $500,000, infusers up to $250,000 and transporters up to $50,000.
The forgivable loan has an 18-month grace period with no payments or interest accrued to provide businesses with flexibility.
— Brian Beckley