Senators in Massachusetts have passed a bill to help would-be entrepreneurs participate in the state’s burgeoning cannabis market. 

If passed by the House, the bill would create a social equity fund, giving new businesses access to capital via grants and forgivable/interest-free loans.

Federal law currently prevents cannabis firms from accessing traditional bank loans, making life difficult for start ups.

The fund would receive 10% of annual revenue from a cannabis excise tax, estimated to be worth around US$18 million in FY2023. Similar schemes operate in other states.

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission has given the state’s seven licensed medicinal cannabis operators the go-ahead to start selling recreational cannabis within the next 30 days.

In November 2020, 67% of New Jersey voters supported legalising the possession and recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and over.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...