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Kalamazoo City Commission postpones marijuana business opt-in until June 2020

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The Kalamazoo City Commission listens to state's presentation on new Social Equity Program. (WWMT/Alexis Berdine)

The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously to postpone the decision to opt-in to allowing adult-use recreational marijuana businesses to operate within the city.

City leaders said they need more time to go over zoning and licensing rules. The commissioners said the delay will be until June 1, 2020, to create an ordinance for the businesses.

Members of the Michigan Marijuana Regulation Agency (MRA) presented the Social Equity Program to Kalamazoo City Commissioners and members during a special meeting on Monday evening.

The program was designed to help people who want to get into the marijuana business that live in areas that have been unfairly impacted by marijuana prohibition was laid out by MRA.

MRA members said during the start of October 2019 that more communities were added to a list of areas the agency identified as disproportionately impacted, including many West Michigan communities.

Disproportionately impacted communities

  • Albion
  • Alger
  • Bay City
  • Benton Harbor
  • Big Rapids
  • Coldwater
  • Coloma
  • Covert
  • Detroit
  • Eau Claire
  • East Lansing
  • Encorse
  • Flint
  • Fremont
  • Hamtramck
  • Highland Park
  • Holton
  • Inkster
  • Kalamazoo
  • Mesick
  • Montgomery
  • Mount Morris
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Niles
  • Prescott
  • Pontiac
  • River Rouge
  • Saginaw
  • Shepherd
  • Sodus
  • South Haven
  • St. Helen
  • Sterling
  • Twin Lake
  • Watervilet
  • West Branch
  • Ypsilanti

Program requirements

The MRA offered cost reductions to individuals who qualify for the program, including 60% off the application fee, the initial license fee, and future renewal fees.

The cost reductions will be calculated as following:

  • A 25% reduction for those who have been a resident of one of the disproportionately impacted communities for the past five years.
  • An additional 25% reduction if the individuals holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the disproportionately impacted communities for the past five years and have a marijuana-related conviction.
  • An additional 10% reduction if the individuals holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the disproportionately impacted communities for the past five years and were registered as primary caregivers for at least two years between 2008 and 2017.

MRA members said the state does not have a cap on the amount of people who can apply for the program. Members told commissioners during the meeting that once the application is submitted there will be a 90-day turn around period for the state to inform applicants if they have been accepted or denied entry into the program.

While the state is offering this program, no one in Kalamazoo will be able to take advantage of it in the near future.


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