Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Media Contact: LARA Communications (517-335-LARA (5272))
January 19, 2021 – In order to address concerns about equitable opportunity in Michigan’s marijuana industry for people of color, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released the final recommendations of the Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup today.
“The MRA is committed to making Michigan the model agency in the country, including being a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the marijuana industry,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “As the agency responsible for implementing and administering the laws governing commercial licensure, the MRA recognizes the importance of equity in opportunity for businesses operating in this newly legalized industry.”
The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act – passed by Michigan voters in November 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.”
As the MRA implemented and expanded this plan, it became clear that the broad language of the statute was not enough to address the specific issue of racial inequities within the commercial industry. Data collected in December 2020 by the MRA on individuals who have an ownership interest in a licensed adult-use establishment in Michigan showed that only 3.8% are Black or African American and 1.5% are Hispanic or Latino.
Accordingly, the MRA established a Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup composed of state and local officials and industry stakeholders as follows:
The Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup was charged with developing policy ideas and recommendations to address the disparities in ownership and participation in the marijuana industry by people of color and establishing the State of Michigan as a leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion in this industry.
The workgroup met first in July 2020 and continued to meet monthly through December 2020. Subcommittees were established to focus on key concepts and develop proposals to present to the full body, as follows:
Each subcommittee developed and presented proposals to the full workgroup that included the for consideration. Members were also asked to identify the implementation priority of the proposals adopted by the group. The adopted proposals are included in this final report in the recommended order of priority:
As suggested by the workgroup, the MRA will establish a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup (DEIW) to continue to advance the proposals of the ad hoc Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup, to empower stakeholders to take ownership in the programs that directly impact their communities, and to continue to guide the MRA on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.