US (MI): City to create nonprofit to advance social equity in cannabis industry

The Grand Rapids City Commission recently approved the creation of a nonprofit organization to boost social equity outcomes in communities most historically impacted by over-enforcement of anti-cannabis laws prior to cannabis’ legalization.

The independent body — which has not yet been named — would help advance social equity citywide by supporting efforts such as business incubation, entrepreneur training, job and wealth creation strategies, economic incentives, capital, expungement assistance and other efforts designed to increase opportunities for traditionally under-resourced communities.

This was an interdepartmental effort that included representatives from theu city of Grand Rapids’ Department of Law, Office of Equity and Engagement, Planning Department, and Executive Office. The proposed nonprofit first appeared as part of the city’s Cannabis Social Equity Policy, adopted July 7, 2020, by the city commission. Formation of the nonprofit was a key part of the policy recommendation supporting the improvement of social equity outcomes in the city and within Grand Rapids’ new cannabis industry.

Once established, the nonprofit’s bylaws are expected to mirror the relevant goals and objectives of the city’s strategic plan and the cannabis social equity plan. The initial board will have about 11 directors chosen through the city’s appointment process. The board will consist of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and expertise to ensure diverse viewpoints and inspire meaningful conversations about the best ways to create positive outcomes in the communities most affected by the war on drugs.

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