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New York Issues Lender Request for Social Equity Fund

New York’s social equity fund is aiming to facilitate the development of an equitable cannabis industry, prioritising loans and funding for those who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has now issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to launch the fund, calling for capital partners and a fund administrator.

It aims for the fund to reach between $20 and $30 million, with NYCEDC committing up to $8 million of subordinated loan capital at a 0% interest rate, aiming to attract private capital to “leverage fund size and impact, while bringing down overall interest rates for Loan Fund borrowers”.

The organisation has confirmed that the loans will be coupled with technical assistance to increase the likelihood of borrower success and to mitigate the risk of default.

This fund is building on New York Mayor Eric Adams’ commitment to promote the growth of an equitable cannabis industry in New York City.

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In a statement, Adams commented: “Legalising cannabis brought great promise of progress towards social and economic equity, but we cannot sit on our hands while illegal smoke shops crowd out the New Yorkers and communities who were disproportionately harmed by the ‘War on Drugs’ — now that they have an opportunity for justice.

“The Cannabis NYC Loan Fund will help repair past harms by creating new opportunities and growing our city’s economy. With this new tool, our city’s budding industry is on a path towards equity, sustainability, and shared prosperity for all New Yorkers, particularly those most directly impacted by the decades of prohibition.”

“To create a more equitable economy, we need to make investments that help achieve this important goal for every industry we are growing in the city,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer.

“With the Cannabis NYC Loan Fund, that is exactly what the City of New York is doing, and we are excited to partner with others who want to join us in investing in an equitable cannabis industry that creates jobs, grows businesses, and creates greater prosperity in the process.”

NYCEDC has requested that responses to the call are submitted by 7 September, 2023.

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