LANSING – The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) announced today the details for its Social Equity Program as required under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act passed by voters in 2018. The program is designed to encourage participation in the state’s adult-use marijuana industry by people who live in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition.
“It’s critical that we ensure that those who have been unfairly and disproportionately targeted by decades of prohibition are given the opportunity to participate in this new industry, and our hope is that this program will help accomplish that goal,” said Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Communications Director Josh Hovey. “Our members very much appreciate the thought and detail the state has put into developing its social equity program. We look forward to doing everything we can to help the MRA in its efforts to reach out to the impacted communities.”
Eligible communities were defined by the MRA based on the number of marijuana-related convictions and the poverty rate. According to the MRA’s press release, “Counties in which the total number of marijuana-related convictions exceeded the average marijuana-related conviction rate for the state were selected. From that group, counties were selected in which 30% or more of the population live below the federal poverty level.”
Based on its definition, the MRA determined that the following communities qualify as eligible for the Social Equity Program:
- Benton Harbor
- East Lansing
- Highland Park
- Muskegon Heights
- River Rouge
Qualifying applicants from these communities have the opportunity to receive up to a 60 percent reduction off license application fees, initial license fees as well as future renewal fees. Discounts will vary based on whether the majority owner has lived in an impacted community for the past five years, whether the applicant has had a marijuana-related conviction and whether the applicant has been a registered caregiver for at least two years between 2008 and 2017.