City of Oakland Launches Innovative Cannabis Paid Internship and Training Program for Equity Applicants

Program provides paid training opportunities in the cannabis industry 

OAKLAND, CA - The City of Oakland is proud to announce the inauguration of a groundbreaking Cannabis Paid Internship and Training Program tailored specifically for equity applicants living in the City of Oakland. The initiative, funded by the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) and the City of Oakland is overseen by Case4Cannabis, Inc. (C4C), in partnership with Merritt College and the Oakland Private Industry Council (OPIC). 

The primary objective of the Cannabis Paid Internship and Training Program is to furnish participants with the requisite skills and knowledge to thrive in the competitive landscape of legal cannabis employment while ensuring they receive a living wage. The Merritt College academic training program will furnish participants with a comprehensive understanding of the industry.  

Following the academic component, participants will have the unique opportunity to engage in a paid internship at a local Oakland-based cannabis enterprise. This hands-on experience will enable them to apply their newfound knowledge in a real-world context, fostering the acquisition of invaluable skills and experience within the industry. Cannabis businesses will then receive a tax rebate upon an equity applicants' permanent hiring.

"Through collaborative efforts with Case4Cannabis, the Oakland Private Industry Council, and Merritt College, our city is pioneering a workforce development program that empowers those disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs," said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao. "By providing opportunities within the cannabis industry, we're not just creating jobs; we're fostering equity and economic empowerment. This initiative signifies our commitment to righting historical injustices and building a more inclusive economy. Together, we're not just shaping the future; we're creating pathways to prosperity."

“This is an example of the types of win/win initiatives we’re excited about,” said Ashleigh Kanat, Oakand’s Director of Economic and Workforce Development. “By leveraging our partnerships and state grant funding, the program is a win for workforce development and a win for our local cannabis businesses.”  
"We are excited to launch this program and provide equity applicants with the necessary training and experience to thrive in the cannabis sector," stated Xavier Nazario, Managing Partner of C4C, Inc. "By equipping participants with both a living wage and the tools for success, we aim to cultivate a more inclusive and competitive job market in Oakland."  

Dr. David M. Johnson, President of Merritt College, concurs. "We're thrilled to be working with the City of Oakland, C4C, and OPIC on this workforce development program," said Dr. Johnson. "Merritt College has many programs of distinction, and our horticulture program on cannabis is particularly strong and growing, like the industry for which our students are trained."  

The Oakland Cannabis Paid Internship and Training Program exemplifies the City of Oakland's unwavering commitment to supporting equity applicants and fostering opportunities for underrepresented individuals within the workforce. 

For further details on the program and application procedures, please visit or contact 

About Oakland’s Cannabis Equity Program 

In 2017 the City of Oakland launched a Cannabis Equity Permit Program that addresses disparities in the cannabis industry by prioritizing the victims of the war on drugs and minimizing barriers of entry into the industry. 



Posted: April 23rd, 2024 4:09 PM

Last Updated: April 23rd, 2024 4:09 PM

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