Michigan expands social equity areas as adult-use marijuana program nears

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Michigan cannabis regulators more than doubled the number of communities eligible for social equity assistance, which will mean reduced application fees for potentially dozens of additional recreational marijuana business applicants.

The expansion from 19 to 41 communities occurred after the staff from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency continued researching available data, state officials said.

Michigan will start accepting recreational marijuana business license applications on Nov. 1.

Adult-use MJ sales are expected to start in the state next year.

There’s no statewide cap on licenses, but local communities can set limits.

Nearly 1,000 of the state’s 1,773 communities reportedly have decided to opt-out, or ban retail stores, at least initially, according to Detroit TV station WDIV.

The social equity program allows qualifying applicants to benefit from reduced fees for application, licenses and future renewals.

The reduced rates range from 25% to 60% depending on the circumstance.

Additional application support is offered and other assistance, such as potential mentorships.

The program is designed to encourage participation in the marijuana industry by people who live in Michigan communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

Identifed social equity communities include Detroit, East Lansing, Flint, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, plus numerous smaller municipalities.

For more information about the social equity program, click here.