Among other barriers to entry into the industry, starting an adult-use cannabusiness can become very costly, very quickly. To help address concerns over expensive licensing fees, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has implemented the Social Equity Program, opening an avenue to financial assistance for those wanting to join the cannabis industry.
Established under section 8 of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), the Social Equity Program was created “to promote and encourage participation in the marijuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities.” In other words, you may be eligible to receive an annual discount on individual licensing fees if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- If you have lived in a disproportionately impacted community for at least 5 cumulative years within the past 10 years, you will be eligible for a 25% fee reduction. There are currently 184 communities in Michigan that qualify as “disproportionately impacted” according to the MRA. These include Battle Creek, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor, among others.
- In you have ever been convicted of a marijuana-related misdemeanor, you will be eligible for a 25% fee reduction.
- If you have ever been convicted of a marijuana-related felony, you will be eligible for a 40% fee reduction.
- If you were registered as a primary caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act for 2 years between 2008-2017, you will be eligible for a 10% fee reduction.
The establishment itself may also be eligible for a discount on licensing fees if an eligible social equity participant plans to operate the marijuana business within a disproportionately impacted community. If you are an eligible social equity participant but plan to operate your marijuana establishment outside of a disproportionately impacted community, you may still be eligible for a fee reduction for up to 2 years following your initial licensure.
If you are looking to start a cannabusiness, Grewal Law PLLC can help ensure that you are receiving the best possible discount on licensing fees. Contact our Michigan firm online today and let our experienced cannabis law attorneys help you navigate the Social Equity Program to make sure that everything is processed correctly.