Existo Partners With Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s Social Equity Program


In light of the rapid growth and expansion of the legal marijuana industry, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has taken a proactive stance by introducing the Social Equity Program. This program acknowledges the moral responsibility to address the lasting impact of past marijuana-related convictions on individuals and communities. It wasn’t long ago when the possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana were considered illegal activities. Although many states have started the process of legalizing marijuana, the consequences of these convictions continue to disproportionately affect certain communities, perpetuating social and economic disparities.

The MRA’s Social Equity Program aims to rectify this imbalance by providing support, resources, and opportunities to those individuals and communities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and historical marijuana convictions. By actively engaging in efforts to level the playing field, the MRA seeks to create a more equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in Michigan.

Through strategic partnerships, such as the collaboration between Existo and the MRA’s Social Equity Program, meaningful steps are being taken to address the underlying systemic issues and provide a pathway for individuals to participate in the legal cannabis market. By fostering entrepreneurship, offering education and training programs, and providing assistance with licensing and regulatory compliance, this partnership aims to empower and uplift those who have historically been marginalized.

Social Equity Program - The Michigan State Capitol as viewed from within Downtown Lansing, with trees, plants, office buildings, and pedestrians and cars and a driver in the foreground, and a blue sky with clouds in the background.

Why was the Program Created?

FBI data shows that in 2018, 40% of all drug convictions in the United States were for marijuana-related offenses. Of those marijuana-related offenses, about 92% were for possession. In just a few short years, legalization and public opinion of medical and recreational marijuana use has changed drastically. The Social Equity Program was created by the MRA to encourage and support participation in the Michigan marijuana industry by people from communities who have been impacted by past marijuana prohibition and enforcement. From access to capital and business development resources to mentorship programs and community engagement initiatives, this collaboration strives to break down barriers and promote the long-term success of social equity applicants.

Who Qualifies for Michigan’s Social Equity Program?

The Social Equity Program has outlined certain criteria for participants to be eligible for program benefits. Participants who qualify for the program are eligible for adult-use license fee reduction as well as access to outreach and educational sessions.

Criteria for Individuals:

Residential – Residency in a disproportionately impacted community for at least 5 cumulative years within the past 10 years. See the map and full list of communities here. (25% fee reduction)


Previous Marijuana Conviction – Misdemeanor (25% fee reduction) or Felony (40% fee reduction)

Criteria for Establishments:

Participants who plan to operate a marijuana establishment within a disproportionately impacted community will receive a fee reduction on all adult-use licensing fees.

Participants who plan to operate a marijuana establishment outside of a disproportionately impacted community will receive an extended fee reduction for only 2 years following adult-use licensure.

How do I Sign up for Michigan’s Social Equity Program?

Individuals who wish to participate in Michigan MRA’s Social Equity Program can fill out an online application here. The application requires individuals to provide documentation that supports eligibility in the program. This includes proof of residency and/or conviction documentation.

Existo is Here to Help!

Existo supports the mission of MRA’s Social Equity Program and encourages participation in the Michigan marijuana industry by serving as a resource for all things technology, security, cultivation, and compliance. As a trusted partner in the cannabis industry, we provide cannabis compliance solutions for all facility types. Are you thinking about starting your cannabis business as a Social Equity Program participant? Contact Us today for a FREE consultation!

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