Monday, February 1, 2021

Black entrepreneurs are underrepresented in Michigan's recreational marijuana industry

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2021 at 10:32 AM

click to enlarge Premiere Provisions in Big Rapids. - PREMIERE PROVISIONS
  • Premiere Provisions
  • Premiere Provisions in Big Rapids.

Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry is blooming, generating more than a billion dollars in its first full year.

But Black people, who were disproportionately jailed when marijuana was illegal, aren't reaping the rewards of the legal industry.



Only 3.8% of Michigan residents with an ownership interest in licensed recreational marijuana businesses are Black, according to a recent report from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA). By contrast, Black people make up 13.7% of the state’s population.

The MRA “is committed to making Michigan the model agency in the country, including being a leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the marijuana industry,” the agency said in its report.

To promote diversity, the MRA is recommending new taxes on marijuana sales that would help entrepreneurs of color gain access to capital and receive technical and educational assistance.

The recommendations came from the Racial Equity Advisory Workshop, which was tasked with finding ways to diversify the industry.

Now it’s up to Michigan lawmakers to approve the recommendations.

The workshop recommended reinstating the 3% excise taxes on medical marijuana sales, which would have raised nearly $10 million in new revenue in 2020.

The group also is urging lawmakers to create a new 1.5% tax on transactions between recreational marijuana license holders.

New taxes would help pay for loans, grants, and training programs for people of color.

Before marijuana was legalized, Black people were disproportionately penalized for cannabis-related offenses. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union last year found that Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possessions, even though white people consume cannabis at “roughly equal” rates to Black people. Since 2010, the rising number of states that legalized marijuana “has not reduced national trends in racial disparities.” In fact, more Black people were arrested for marijuana offenses in 2018 than in 2015, the report found.

Here are 10 Black-owned cannabis companies to support in Michigan.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation