Michigan launches 'Joint Ventures' program to help bring diversity to its cannabis industry

click to enlarge Entrepreneur Tatiana Grant is one of the members of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency's Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Entrepreneur Tatiana Grant is one of the members of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency's Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup.

Data released by Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency last year showed that of individuals who have an ownership interest in a licensed adult-use cannabis business in Michigan, only 3.8% were Black and only 1.5% were Latino.

Meanwhile, nearly 80% of people in federal prison and nearly 60% of people in state prison for drug offenses are Black or Latino, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

To help fix this disparity, the MRA launched a new program on Tuesday to bring more social equity to the state's cannabis industry.

The new Joint Ventures Pathway Program (JVPP) was established based on a recommendation made by the MRA's Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup earlier this year. The JVPP will connect eligible social equity participants with adult-use licensees and "any businesses or organizations that wish to work with social equity participants and are interested in pursuing partnerships," according to a statement from the MRA.

"As the agency responsible for implementing and administering the laws governing commercial licensure of the marijuana industry in Michigan, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency ... recognizes the importance of equity in opportunity for businesses operating in this newly legalized industry," the MRA said in a statement.

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act passed by Michigan voters in 2018 directed the MRA to create a plan "to promote and encourage participation in the marijuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities." The MRA established the Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup, made up of local elected officials and industry stakeholders, to develop recommendations to address the issue.

Members of the workgroup include state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and state Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit), and entrepreneurs Anqunette Sarah and Tatiana Grant, among others.

More information on the program is available at the JVPP website and michigan.gov/mra.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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