4 Mid-Michigan cities get preferential treatment for marijuana businesses

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LANSING (WJRT) (7/18/2019) - Marijuana entrepreneurs in four Mid-Michigan cities will get extra help and lower application fees to set up their businesses.

The cities of Flint, Mt. Morris, Mount Pleasant and Saginaw were included in the list of 19 cities allowed in the Social Equity Program through the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

The communities were selected based on a higher than average number of marijuana-related convictions in the state and a poverty rate higher than 30 percent. A social equity program was required in the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in 2018, which legalized recreational use.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency will visit each of the cities before business license applications are accepted beginning on Nov. 1 to offer help navigating the process.

Seven state departments and agencies are offering help filling out and completing various parts of the application process. Applicants also get access to consultations with attorneys, bankers and mentors on setting up their businesses.

Applicants in the 19 cities also get a 60 percent discount on the application fee. Additional discounts are available to applicants who have lived in the cities for five years, have a marijuana-related conviction and were a registered medical marijuana caregiver.

The other 15 cities allowed in the Social Equity Program are Albion, Benton Harbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Ecorse, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Inkster, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Niles, Pontiac, River Rouge and Ypsilanti.