Michigan launched a Social Equity Program page on its website last week to provide resources and educational information on how the state will ensure that minorities and those individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by prior cannabis laws and policies will participate in the adult-use cannabis market. Michigan identified 19 cities whose residents qualify for participation.
Michigan's rules require each applicant for an adult-use cannabis license to submit a social equity plan that outlines how the business will include persons from these cities in the licensed business. Michigan’s approach to social equity is different from other states that will provide licensing priority and funding for a set number of qualifying social equity applicants. Michigan will help to establish partnerships between applicants and qualifying individuals in order to boost employment or to obtain assistance from partners to help social equity applicants to become a licensed cannabis business. The state will hold educational and outreach sessions in the 19 identified cities.
Michigan’s approach may be a better solution to launching the industry quickly and in ensuring appropriate partnership between capital providers and social equity licensees. The proposal would provide experienced out-of-state businesses with the ability to partner qualified persons in establishing an adult-use business. Michigan residents can gain the operation experience, branding, and capital that may be available. This might be a better result than states that offer a license but without adequate funding or guidance.