Michigan cuts fees for some future cannabis businesses

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Michigan regulators lowered marijuana licensing fees for prospective business owners living in 19 cities where residents were disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

Under the new social equity program, regulators can slash fees up to 60% for applicants with proposed marijuana establishments in minority, low-income communities, including those in Detroit and Flint, as well as college towns such as East Lansing and Mount Pleasant.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency determined the communities’ eligibility by analyzing their number of marijuana-related convictions and the poverty rate.

Regulators are required to “positively impact” communities where marijuana enforcement was aggressive and encourage their residents to participate in the cannabis industry, in accordance with a provision of the 2018 voter-passed ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The social equity program “will lead the nation,” Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, said in a written statement.

Other eligible cities include:

  • Albion
  • Benton Harbor
  • Ecorse
  • Highland Park
  • Hamtramck
  • Inkster
  • Kalamazoo
  • Mt. Morris
  • Muskegon
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Niles
  • Pontiac
  • River Rouge
  • Saginaw
  • Ypsilanti

Regulators vowed to visit the 19 cities multiple times for education sessions before the state begins taking applications.

Fees will be reduced by 25% for those who have lived in one of the disproportionately affected cities for the past five years and have a cannabis-related conviction.

There will be an additional 25% cut for those who have a marijuana-related conviction and an extra 10% reduction for registered medical cannabis caregivers with an MJ-related conviction who was a registered caregiver for at least two years from 2008 to 2017.

– Associated Press