Connecticut Launches Loan Program in Support of Social Equity Marijuana Businesses

Connecticut’s Social Equity Council and Department of Economic and Community Development says its Canna-Business Revolving Loan Fund is now actively accepting applications.

The new fund was established under the state’s marijuana legalization law. It offers social equity licensees loans with a fixed rate of 3%. In addition applicants who enroll in and complete SEC’s accelerator program will receive a 1.5% interest rate discount.

“Access to fair, safe and equitable funding for cannabis businesses is critical to standing up and building strong companies,” SEC Executive Director Ginne-Rae Clay said yesterday in a press release. “Connecticut is among the first states to offer direct state financial assistance to ‘budding’ cannabis entrepreneurs.”

She continues: “Access to capital means one less thing our cannabis supply chain must think about. We are excited to announce this loan fund as we continue to provide support and technical assistance that will ensure the success and stability of the social equity cannabis supply chain.”

SEC Executive Director Ginne-Rae Clay says that “Access to fair, safe and equitable funding for cannabis businesses is critical to standing up and building strong companies. Connecticut is among the first states to offer direct state financial assistance to ‘budding’ cannabis entrepreneurs.”

“This new loan program is vital to helping applicants quickly access the funding they need to get their cannabis operations up and running,” said SEC Chair and DECD Deputy Commissioner Paul Robertson. “It is an important step forward in building Connecticut’s cannabis marketplace and capitalizing on the jobs, investment and many other benefits it will generate in the years ahead.”

He continued: “The Canna-Business Revolving Loan Fund is a great example of how the Social Equity Council is working to create new paths to economic empowerment for those living in communities adversely affected by the war on drugs”.

Below is some more detailed information about the fund, from its official website:

Overview: The Social Equity Council’s Canna-Business Revolving Loan Fund (CBRLF) will provide licensed Connecticut cannabis business owners with financial assistance, using a streamlined application process to expedite the approval process.Applicants: SEC-approved Social Equity Applicants (SEAs) with a licensed cannabis business located in Connecticut, including provisional licenses, may be eligible to apply. The SEA must own 50% or more of an Equity Joint Venture (EJV) or own 65% or more of a 149 Cultivator or cannabis business. Municipalities and non-profits located in Connecticut may also be eligible to apply. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older.

Uses of Funds: Eligible Expenses Include: (1) Equipment Purchases, (2) Purchase & Installation of Machinery, (3) Leasehold Improvements or Expansions, (4) Working Capital And Lines of Credit, (5) Vehicles for use in Conducting Official Cannabis Business, (6) Technology Infrastructure, (7) Loan Closing Costs, (8) Environmental Studies, Or (9) Soft Costs Related to New Construction/Renovations.

Non-Eligible Uses: Non-Eligible Expense Include: (1) Payment of Taxes, (2) Payment of Licensing Fees, (3) Subsidizing a Business that can obtain Financing for the Project at Reasonable Terms from Conventional Sources, (4) Refinancing or Restructure Existing Debt, (5) Relocation of A Business Entity from one CT Geographical Area to Another, (6) Compensating for a Fundamental Business Weakness, (7) Personal Loans, (8) Personal Needs (Such as Child Support, Rent, Utilities, Etc.), or (9) State-Wide Illegal Activities.

Structure:  Minimum equity investment of 20% is required. Fixed asset loans will not exceed $500,000, including leasehold improvements. Working capital and lines of credit will not exceed $200,000 and vehicle loans will not exceed $500,000.

Term: Loans will be amortized over the life of the asset or the borrower’s ability to repay, with a maturity note of not more than 10 years.  Working capital loans will be amortized over a period of 2 years. Lines of credit mature at the end of year 5 with the option to convert to a term loan for a period not to exceed 5 years.

Interest Rate: The interest rate shall be fixed between 6% and 9%.  1.50% interest rate discount for applicants that enroll and complete the SEC Cannabis Business Accelerator Program.

Collateral:  First lien position on assets being financed, may subordinate to bank loan up to $250,000. In cases of subordination an inter-creditor agreement will be required. Personal guarantees will be required for all working capital loans and lines of credit from owners with 5% or more ownership stake in the business.

Closing Costs: Applicants will be responsible for closing costs, if applicable.

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