Michigan's Social Equity Program Awards Grants to Lansing-Area Cannabis Businesses

March 12th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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In a recent announcement by Michigan's Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), a group of Lansing-area cannabis businesses have been awarded grants exceeding $16,000 each, as a part of the state's efforts to foster a more equitable and sustainable cannabis industry through its Social Equity Grant Program. The program aims to support businesses in areas disproportionately affected by past cannabis policies, following the legalization of adult-use cannabis in 2018.

State Sen. Sarah Anthony highlighted the initiative's goals, emphasizing the importance of leveraging this opportunity to bolster local talent and stimulate economic growth in both urban and rural communities adversely impacted by the cannabis industry's development. "Since the legalization of cannabis in 2018, it has become evident that we must strive towards guiding this burgeoning industry towards a future marked by sustainability and equity," Anthony remarked.

The grants, each totaling $16,129, were distributed to 62 social equity licensees from a pool of $1 million allocated for this purpose. Among the recipients in the Lansing area were Biobizz, Capital City, Carbidex, Jartnick Consulting, and Smart Meds. Additionally, 120 West, located in Laingsburg, was also a beneficiary of the program's funds.

The Social Equity Grant Program was established in response to the 2018 voter-approved initiative that legalized adult-use cannabis. This initiative mandated the state to devise a strategy to enhance and encourage participation in the cannabis industry by individuals from communities historically marginalized and adversely affected by cannabis prohibition and enforcement.

Brian Hanna, the Executive Director of the CRA, expressed enthusiasm over the potential impacts of these grants: "I'm thrilled to see our licensees utilize these funds to make a positive difference in their employees' lives, their communities, and their businesses. Our social equity licensees truly deserve this opportunity."

Marking a significant first, this allocation of funds specifically targets the support of social equity licensees, setting a precedent for future endeavors. To qualify for the SEGP, grantees must possess a valid CRA-issued adult-use license, be majority-owned by individuals who are participants in the Social Equity Program, and have been certified as participants in the CRA's Social Equity All-Star Program.

The grants are intended for a range of uses, including but not limited to, financing educational courses relevant to the business for employees, ensuring compliance with licensing and regulatory statutes, or making contributions to organizations, nonprofits, and charities that have a positive impact on the community where the business operates.

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