Just today, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) announced the details of its Michigan Social Equity Program. The program is designed to encourage participation in the marijuana industry by those in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.
Over the last several months, the agency sought input from approximately 150 stakeholders in work groups, including Cannabis Legal Group’s founding attorney Barton Morris and associate attorney Jennifer Domingue. An online survey was also distributed to help determine critical criteria the MRA should use to identify disproportionately impacted communities, which resulted in identifying the following 19 communities:
- Benton Harbor
- East Lansing
- Highland Park
- Mt. Morris
- Mt. Pleasant
- Muskegon Heights
- River Rouge
While the finalized social equity plan has yet to be released, here are a few key details included in the plan:
1. Application Assistance and Coordinating Resources
The MRA’s team of social equity representatives will visit the 19 communities listed above multiple times before the agency begins taking applications on November 1, 2019. The MRA’s social equity representatives will:
- 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 marijuana 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
2. Reduced Fees
Those who qualify for the Social Equity program benefit from significant reductions off the application fee, the initial license fee and future renewal fees. This will be calculated as follows:
- 25% reduction for those who have been a resident of one of the 19 disproportionately 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 19 disproportionately impacted communities for the past five years AND have a marijuana-related conviction.
- An additional 10% reduction if the individual(s) holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the 19 disproportionately impacted communities for the past five years AND were registered as primary caregivers for at least two years between 2008 and 2017.
3. Social Equity Program Resources
The MRA will make multiple resources available to disproportionately impacted communities and individuals who qualify for the Social Equity Program. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)
- Bureau of Fire Services
- Wage & Hour
- Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA)
Additionally, the MRA has partnered with medical facility licenses and individuals from the private sector to provide educational presentations to – and act as resources – to Social Equity Program participants. To learn more about this and other Social Equity Program details, read the full press release.
Cannabis Legal Group is looking forward to being a leading advocate for social equity program applicants, and we are currently preparing resources and services for eligible participants. For information, please contact us today.