Kahari King

Michigan Announces Social Equity Program Plans

Michigan’s cannabis regulators have announced a plan to cut fees on cannabusinesses in 19 municipalities that were disproportionately affected by the plant’s prohibition, as per the legalization initiative approved by voters in 2016.

Full story after the jump.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency is cutting fees on canna-businesses in 19 municipalities that were disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement under social equity plans, the agency announced on Monday. The law approved by voters in 2016 allows social equity applicants to have fees reduced by as much as 60 percent.

Under the plan, fees will be reduced by 25 percent for individuals who have lived in one of the affected cities for the past five years. Another 25 percent fee reduction will be available to applicants who hold majority ownership in the company, have lived in the affected cities or towns, and also have a cannabis-related conviction – potentially cutting fees in half for some applicants. An extra 10 percent reduction will be available for those who were registered medical cannabis caregivers for at least two years from 2008 to 2017 who also have a cannabis conviction.

The fee reduction would apply to the initial license fee and future renewal fees.

Michigan‘s Social Equity Program identifies communities as eligible using both cannabis-related convictions and poverty rate. Counties where the total number of cannabis-related convictions exceeded the average cannabis-related conviction rate for the state were selected, the agency indicated in a release. From that group, communities were selected in which 30 percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level.

The communities include:

  • Albion
  • Benton Harbor
  • Detroit
  • East Lansing
  • Ecorse
  • Flint
  • Highland Park
  • Hamtramck
  • Inkster
  • Kalamazoo
  • Morris
  • Pleasant
  • Muskegon
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Niles
  • Pontiac
  • River Rouge
  • Saginaw
  • Ypsilanti

MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said that the program “will lead the nation in accomplishing social equity objectives” included in the voter-approved legalization law. The agency is planning to send representatives to the 19 cities to explain the social equity plans before the state begins accepting applications for new cannabusinesses on Nov. 1.

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