City of Oakland – Cannabis Financial Literacy


This course is part of the City of Oakland Race and Equity Program.

Each time an Oakland Verified Equity Applicant (“VEA”) applies for a new or follow-on Equity Grant or Loan; they will be required to take an Oaksterdam elective course or webinar and pass a quiz to show completion. This GRASS Elective Class is free to the Verified Equity Applicant to pinpoint areas of interest or drill down to fill particular knowledge gaps.

Course Overview

Most cannabis ventures do not have access to the types of debt financing other businesses rely on because cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level. Cannabis businesses must rely primarily on private equity financing. In this course, we examine the difference between debt and equity financing and explore the process of raising equity capital to launch or expand a business. We will also identify the key factors investors tend to consider when they vet an investment opportunity and outline best practices for pitching the idea to potential backers. 


  • Cannabis Financial Literacy Overview
  • Business Models and Corporate Structure
  • Financial Metrics for Fundraisers
  • Types of Financing – Debt vs. Equity
  • Equity Financing Sources & Funding Rounds
  • Making the Pitch