Black entrepreneurs are underrepresented in Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry | Marijuana News | Detroit


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Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry is thriving, generating more than $ 1 billion in its first full year.

But blacks who were disproportionately incarcerated when marijuana was illegal are not reaping the rewards of the legal industry.

According to a recent report by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), only 3.8% of Michigan residents involved in licensed recreational marijuana businesses are black. In contrast, blacks make up 13.7% of the state’s population.

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

To encourage diversity, the MRA recommends new taxes on marijuana sales to give color entrepreneurs access to capital and technical and educational support.

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

It is now up to Michigan lawmakers to approve the recommendations.

The workshop recommended reintroducing the 3% excise tax on medical marijuana sales, which would have brought in new revenue of nearly $ 10 million in 2020.

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

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

Before marijuana was legalized, blacks were punished disproportionately for crimes related to cannabis. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union last year found that blacks are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though whites use cannabis at “roughly the same” rates as blacks. Since 2010, the growing number of states legalizing marijuana “has not diminished national trends in racial disparity.” In fact, more blacks were arrested for marijuana crimes in 2018 than in 2015, the report said.

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

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