Today, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) announced an expansion of its Social Equity Program, which is designed to encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people who live in Michigan communities which have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition and enforcement.
The MRA’s team of social equity representatives will visit the following regions to reach each of the disproportionately impacted communities before the MRA begins taking applications on November 1, 2019:
- Benton Harbor (Coloma, Covert, Hartford, Sodus, South Haven, Watervliet)
- Big Rapids (Fremont)
- Coldwater (Montgomery)
- Detroit (Ecorse, Hamtramck, Highland Park, River Rouge)
- East Lansing
- Flint (Mt. Morris)
- Mt. Pleasant (Shepherd)
- Muskegon (Muskegon Heights, Twin Lake, Holton)
- Niles (Eau Claire)
- Saginaw (Bay City)
- West Branch (Alger, Prescott, Roscommon, Sterling, St. Helen)
Application Assistance and Coordinating Resources
During the visits, the MRA will provide educational sessions regarding the social equity program and the application and licensure process. The MRA’s social equity representatives will be available to assist individuals with completing the social equity application during the educational sessions, which will allow the MRA to determine if the individual qualifies for participation in the program.
The MRA’s social equity representatives will provide the following services:
- Answer questions regarding the adult-use application and licensing process
- Provide one-on-one assistance with completing the licensure application
- Compile educational resources relevant to the cannabis industry and help coordinate applicants’ use of the resources
- Identify resources at other state agencies and in the private sector (attorneys, accountants, etc.) that qualifying applicants can utilize to answer questions
Participating in the Social Equity Program allows qualifying applicants whose cannabis establishments will be in disproportionately impacted communities to benefit from a reduction of up to 60% off the application fee, the initial license fee, and future renewal fees, which will be calculated as follows for qualifying applicants:
25% reduction for those who have been a resident of one of the disproportionally impacted communities for the past five years.
An additional 25% reduction if the individual(s) holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the disproportionally impacted communities for the past five years AND have a cannabis-related conviction.
An additional 10% reduction if the individual(s) holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the disproportionally impacted communities for the past five years AND were registered as primary caregivers for at least two years between 2008 and 2017.
Social Equity Representatives will confirm eligibility for participation in this program through acceptance of several forms of documentation.
Social Equity Program Resources
The MRA will make resources available to individuals who qualify for participation in the Social Equity Program. The MRA has partnered with other State agencies who offer services that are relevant to individuals or businesses participating in the adult-use cannabis industry. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Treasury – understanding tax requirements and making tax payments
- EGLE – understanding and complying with relevant environmental laws
- Bureau of Fire Services – understanding pre-licensure inspections
- Wage & Hour – worker compensation, wage requirement/benefits, employee benefits
- Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing – business registration
- MIOSHA – safety and health education training
The MRA has partnered with medical facility licensees and individuals from the private sector to provide educational presentations to – and act as resources for – applicants who qualify for the Social Equity Program. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Educational presentations by medical facility licensees on how their cannabis businesses are operated.
- Potential mentorships with medical facility licensees who enter the adult-use market.
- Educational presentations and information provided by certified public accountants who service the cannabis industry.
- Educational presentations and information provided by attorneys who service the cannabis industry.