Social equity was one of the items promised when Michigan voters were asked to make recreational cannabis legal, but little has been done to realize that promise. Kalamazoo has one of the best programs, but officials say even it has a lot of room for improvement.
City Planning Director Antonio Mitchell says they want to create a Social Equity Chamber that will focus on getting residents from neighborhoods negatively impacted by old drug laws into industry jobs or businesses that support dispensaries and growers.
He says the City of Kalamazoo is outperforming the rest of the state when it comes to cannabis equity. Statewide, 11 of the 18 firms that have met the state’s gold standard for diversity are located in Kalamazoo.
Mitchell is proposing the city use a quarter of the funding it receives from the state for licensing cannabis businesses, over $200,000 annually, to fund the new Social Equity Chamber.
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