The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is taking a proactive approach to their social equity program that was mandated by the legalization law passed in 2016. The program aims to offer opportunities to those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement. Regulators will be slashing licensing fees to give business owners and entrepreneurs an expedited pathway to profitability.
The has selected 19 municipalities that will qualify for these fee reductions that can provide up to 60% off the regular price. Any applicant who has lived in one of these municipalities for the last five years is eligible for a 25 percent discount.
Applicants who own the majority share of the business, have lived in these areas , and have been convicted of a cannabis-related crime will receive an additional 25 percent reduction. Medical marijuana caregivers who were registered for at least two years from 2008 to 2017 and also have a cannabis conviction get an extra 10 percent off.
There are a few key components the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency looks for when considering a community for the Social Equity Program. Eligibility is based on both cannabis-related convictions and poverty rate. Municipalities where the total number of cannabis-related convictions exceeds the average cannabis-related conviction rate for the state are selected. From these counties, communities were selected in which 30 percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level.
The communities include:
Executive Director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency Andrew Brisbo notes that the program “will lead the nation in accomplishing social equity objectives” that were an integral part of the voter-approved legalization legislation. In an effort to inform these communities of the new social equity program, the agency is dispatching representatives to these 19 cities to explain how it will work prior to accepting applications for new cannabis businesses on November 1st.