US (NM): New Mexico explores public financing for cannabis businesses

Under a proposal unveiled on Thursday, small-scale cannabis businesses in New Mexico would receive access to publicly financed loans of up to $250,000 in an effort to promote social and economic fairness.

The New Mexico Finance Authority suggested a $5 million line of credit to licensed cannabis microbusinesses, seeking preliminary approval from a panel of state legislators. The panel voted 6-5 against immediate endorsement, stalling the effort amid a variety of concerns about rules for lending to the fledgling adult-use cannabis industry.

Under the proposal lending rules, loans would be made available to qualified cannabis “microbusinesses” that are licensed to cultivate and sell cannabis from up to 200 plants at a single location, operating much like a craft winery or brewery. That business niche was authorized in sweeping legislation to regulate and tax recreational cannabis sales, signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April.

The law requires that the state promote business opportunities for communities that were penalized disproportionately by past criminal enforcement of cannabis laws, without saying exactly how. The social-justice provisions also mandate some form of help for farmers from economically disadvantaged communities and residents of rural areas where the cannabis industry may take hold.

Read more at apnews.com


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