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Workgroup proposes changes to increase diversity in Michigan's marijuana industry

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The agency that oversees Michigan’s marijuana industry is recommending some changes that may open the industry up to more minority owners and investors.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) says about 5% of Michigan’s recreational cannabis businesses are owned by African Americans or Latinos.

To increase that percentage, the agency’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup is recommending a number of regulatory changes including a crowdfunding platform and expanding microbusiness licenses.

Workgroup member C. Cimone Casson says having a level playing field that creates a fair market is important.

“Diversity makes profit in every sense of the word,” Casson told reporters Monday.

Some of the proposals can be put in place by the agency. Others will need legislative approval. 

Proposals to impose a new tax to assist the agency's social equity program will likely face some opposition within Michigan’s marijuana industry.

But MRA Director Andrew Brisbo believes the recommendations will benefit the industry.

“There’s room in this industry in Michigan for businesses of all sizes,” says Brisbo, “And I think it creates a more stable effective market if we do have businesses of various sizes that are participating.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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