Social Equity Program

Our targeted educational programs will prepare you to overcome hurdles and avoid unnecessary risks.

Oaksterdam is Here to Help

Oaksterdam University’s Educational Programs promote education as the path to equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry. OU fights to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.

You will benefit from a strong education that prepares you to compete. Oaksterdam is committed to providing the knowledge and skills required to succeed within and around the evolving cannabis industry. Visit our Help Center or contact our friendly staff at with questions.

Learn more about Oaksterdam University:

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The City of San Francisco designated Oaksterdam University an Authorized Education Provider for Social Equity Technical Assistance. Click here if you are are already qualified to receive FREE technical assistance services.

Visit the City of SF website to learn steps to become a verified social equity applicant and qualify to receive free education from OU. Grant funds are limited; act fast.

applications / eligibility

California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development Awards $29.1 Million in Grants to Counteract Impacts of the War on Drugs

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development is pleased to announce the Fiscal Year 2020-21 grant recipients for the California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program. They will be issuing our next grant solicitation in the late summer of 2021.

For questions or technical assistance about the California Community Reinvestment Grants program, email or call (916) 322-2683. To sign up for updates on when the next grant solicitation will start subscribe here.

You must begin by qualifying as an Equity Verified Individual directly with your City or County.

As a qualified/verified Equity Applicant, you can try requesting tuition for Oaksterdam’s education programs directly from your local cannabis program manager or grants manager. OU is ready and able to work directly with municipalities who receive these grant funds, listed in the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions

Check out Oaksterdam’s Office of Government & Public Affairs for information to provide your local government. You can advocate for direct access to OU Equity Education programs!

Each local government is defining social equity eligibility and providing assistance differently.

Under the Governor’s Program for Business Development Services, a city or county can apply for grant money to set up their local social equity assistance program, or apply for more grant money for direct assistance to equity-qualified businesses and applicants. The locality then selects providers of these services. 

As a qualified/verified Equity Applicant, you can try requesting tuition for Oaksterdam’s education programs directly from your local cannabis program manager or grants manager. OU is ready and able to work directly with municipalities who receive these grant funds, listed in the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions.

What is California’s Social Equity Program?

Per the California Cannabis Equity Act, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control has chosen GO-Biz to administer the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions to aid local equity program efforts in supporting equity applicants licensees. Offering technical support, regulatory compliance assistance, and assistance with securing the capital necessary to begin a business will further the stated intent of the AUMA by reducing barriers to licensure and employment in the regulated industry. Offering these types of support will also aid the state in eliminating or reducing barriers to entry.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners, including attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit assistance, regulatory guidance, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with the state government, and much more.

No conflicts of interest with Oaksterdam University

Oaksterdam University will not perform consultant services that ultimately compete with students for licenses. OU views this as a bad business practice and unfair competition for our students, to whom we owe equal education regardless of their inclination or ability to pay for perceived additional or related services. Students deserve our very best without being “upsold” or a piece of their future income taken in exchange for an education.

Oaksterdam University will not violate the trust we hold with officials and regulators, whom we also train and advise. Oaksterdam University does not participate in any type of financial agreements or revenue share with any cannabis businesses.

Education You Can Trust

Advocates of Cannabis Equity

OU Alumni include the first Black equity owners in Oakland and San Francisco, the first cities to begin functional equity ownership programs.

We do not come recently into the support of BIPOC-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. OU has been working for years with Success Centers, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and others to provide scholarships and grants. OU is on the NCIA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Oaksterdam empowers our alumni to rise and seize the opportunity for equity business licenses. 

Social justice is a foundation of our Oaksterdam family, evidenced by the marijuana policy reform battles we fought and won to medicalize, decriminalize and legalize. Chancellor Dale Sky Jones and faculty fought for years to include these community restoration policies and funds side-by-side, serving on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Cannabis Reform alongside the Directors of the William C. Velasquez Institute and the NAACP of California and Hawaii.

Pioneers of Cannabis Policy Reform

Oaksterdam leaders and faculty are pioneers and continue to lead in social justice, policy reform, equity, advocacy, and education. OU has educational roots going back to our founders fighting for medical patient rights to the US Supreme Court on behalf of medical cannabis patients in the 1990s. Oaksterdam became a community center for meetings for many advocacy and business groups, as well as support and education for patients around the world. OU and our Alumni have played a vital role in revitalizing neighborhoods, both serving and hiring the local community.

Our faculty helped write:

  • California’s Proposition 215 (1996),
  • Senate Bill 420 (2004),
  • Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (2015),
  • Adult Use Marijuana Act (2016)
  • and multiple state ballot initiatives and laws.

We continue to advise on the legislation and regulation of cannabis by local, state, and international governments and agencies. Regulators, elected officials, local governments, and city employees have been studying with Oaksterdam for years to determine their regulatory practices and taxation plans. 

We have demonstrated a focus on successfully crossing digital divides, financial barriers, and accessibility difficulties faced by participants – consistently, with respect and human dignity intact.

We Don’t Change the World, Our Students Do

Oaksterdam is trusted. The “big tent,” OU leaders work with many different groups and vastly different special interests to find common ground and inclusiveness where it may have previously been difficult or even impossible. OU has a proven track record of successful inclusivity and intentional diversity in hiring faculty, staff, and leadership. Alumni also exhibit this variety of every age, ethnicity, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds.