MICHIGAN: The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced today a new initiative to encourage cannabis industry licensees to be proactive in their diversity, equity, and inclusion campaigns through its new Social Equity All-Star Program.
“Michigan’s cannabis industry is abounding with business owners who have invested their time and money in initiatives to help those who were disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition to have a real shot at success in this growing industry,” said CRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “I’m excited that this new recognition program will help acknowledge the important work our licensees are doing to invest in people who deserve, at a minimum, a level playing field on which to work toward achieving their dreams.”
CRA adult-use licensees are eligible for recognition in the Social Equity All-Star Program by meeting the qualifying criteria of the program, including the development, publishing, and implementation of social equity plans, corporate spend plans, and community reinvestment plans. Participation is incentivized through state-issued bronze, silver, and gold social equity seals. The seals will be used as identifiers in a tiered recognition system to recognize licensees’ social equity involvement.
In order to qualify for the bronze level of the Social Equity All-Star Program, licensees must publish their social equity plan on the CRA website and attest to its implementation. Licensees’ social equity plans should complement their business strategic goals and objectives and make an impact in disproportionately impacted communities through employment, educational or mentorship programs, monetary assistance, or training. An advisory bulletin detailing guidance regarding social equity plans can be found on the CRA’s website here.
In order to qualify for the silver level of the Social Equity All-Star Program, licensees must meet the bronze level requirements, publish their corporate spend plan on the CRA website, and attest to its implementation. Licensees’ corporate spend plans should include a dedicated percentage of the business’ annual spending to diverse suppliers.
Licensees can find a list of certified diverse suppliers by utilizing the list of external resources here. There are many ways in which licensees can spend money with diverse suppliers within the cannabis supply chain, including legal services, accounting, real estate, architect services, interior design services, security, insurance, marketing, packaging, and printing (payroll is not considered part of a corporate spend plan).
In order to qualify for the gold level of the Social Equity All-Star Program, licensees must meet the silver level requirements, publish their community reinvestment plan on the CRA website, and attest to its implementation. Licensees’ community reinvestment plans should detail the licensee’s volunteer time or the donation percentages of their revenue to organizations, non-profits, and charities which positively impact any of the groups in these categories:
- Geographic communities that the CRA has identified as disproportionately impacted.
- Racial/ethnic minorities, women, veterans, Native American tribes, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and returning citizens.
Various promotions and recognition events will occur throughout the year, highlighting the licensees who meet the criteria for each tier. In addition, Social Equity All-Star Program licensees will be listed on the CRA website and in periodic communications to the public. Adult-use licensees who would like to be recognized for their social equity efforts – or who would like to read additional information regarding the Social Equity All-Star Program – should click here.
The CRA’s Social Equity Program exists as a provision under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act to promote and encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities. The Social Equity All-Star Program was created in response to recommendations by the CRA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workgroup. The CRA established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workgroup to assist in developing policy ideas and recommendations to empower stakeholders to take ownership in the programs that directly impact their communities.