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Hypocrisy In the Michigan Social Equity initiative, and Corporate Greed and Discriminatory Policies lead the way.


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As I reflect on my endeavor as a minority, that has had plenty of negative impact over the years due to cannabis, I cant help but shake my head with disgust over recent policy's that have limited freedoms, pulled the playing field beneath my feet, and allowed the affluent business participants every advantage.  How does social inequity programs help a minority like me. Well they can offer me job training, and coaching on how to write a resume, etc..  Somehow that constitutes righting the years of negative effects that cannabis, along with over policing has had on the black community.  I don't need help finding a job, or writing a resume, but I would like to see a fair and equitable landscape for Medical and Commercial Cultivators, so I can play on the varsity team. I happen to be Republican and believe it's plain un-American to systematically limit who I can sale to. I can see added additional requirements like , testing, secure transport, Metric logging, etc.. Your rules have affectively killed my shot at the American dream. I used savings it took me 25 years to accumulate to get in the business, just to be told, sorry you cant sell your product here. even though others are selling their lower quality, higher priced products to the dispensaries and on to the end user. 

Maybe they want the equity to be limited to lower tier workers that pose no threat. One thing is for sure, in my case as a minority with over 200k of my own money invested, they don't want me on the field. I have tried to get on the social equity panel. . . not a single response.  Not even a "you didn't make the cut" email.  Hard to believe they have more qualified candidates, as I served as an Executive with both Berkshire Hathaway and Bank of America and lead a similar group. But I think I know why. . . no one in charge is looking for real change, solid initiatives, measurable progress.  Window dressing at best, and we need to do better.

 

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I am curious what specifically has blocked you from participating in the "social equity" program that MRA has set up.

I live in Detroit, attended some of the early focus groups with just 20 people that included the individual that I believe is running the program currently and the MRA head, Andrew Brisbo.   They all seemed sincerely interested in putting a program together that truly would benefit members of the inner city.  Since then I have attended the public presentations they have made here in Detroit and I found the concept lacking from a business perspective.

The problem as I see it is the bare bones cost to establish a licensed dispensary or grow operation is of the order of $200,000.  While the program offers you discounts on licenses, the savings are minimal, i.e. it brings the out of pocket down to perhaps $175K.   At this entry level you can now gain the opportunity to compete with people who are investing millions.  The MRA seems to be targeting potential participants who need help writing a resume.  If that is the MRA's idea of people who can compete in the market place I do not see much hope for the program succeeding. 

Coming back to my original question, what is blocking you?   Your description of your business background seems to suggest you are business savvy.   You mention that you already have made a significant investment, i.e. $200K.  On the surface it seems like you should be at the top of the list of qualified participants.

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Sure does/did seem to me that the connected folks from out west got special treatment from the beginning of the dispensary chapter in our story and still do. 

Didn't ever want them to see them fail here so it didn't seem like such a bad thing.

When someone gets a leg up everyone else is in the back of the bus though and that's not right.

 

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On 2/21/2021 at 5:37 AM, Restorium2 said:

Sure does/did seem to me that the connected folks from out west got special treatment from the beginning of the dispensary chapter in our story and still do.

I know a grower who came back from out west before the law was passed. They started setting up a large commercial grow immediately. When I warned him to be careful because it wasn't legal here yet he said,"Don't worry about it, it's all taken care of."

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Great points you all make in this regard. I personally have nearly everything I need to go after a class c commercial growers license, the one thing I lack is the something beyond my control.  My wife, who I adore,  is not going to have her name associated in any way, shape or form to the cannabis business. And as you know that is a requirement for main applicants, and while it infuriates me, I respect her wishes. I'm in the small minority as a minority that has the means and savvy to get in the game, and that's why the façade of the Social Equity Program irks me.  It's more of the same. . . lets convene as group of well meaning folks, many of them minority's themselves, have them make recommendations and see what sticks.

To me that's a joke. . . if your going to actually run a program like this then make it real. .  . Impactful, measurable, clear defined metrics, and everyone should know how winning looks.

For example for every zip code or demographic area designated there should be a "sweat equity license" available for minority's. Monetarily free, but requiring labor, education, community outreach and service.  

There should be a mentoring/partnership with these new business owners and the larger established companies to help assure there success.

There should be financial help for qualified candidates for start up cost.

There should be social awareness campaigns that educate the public.  Most do not understand the impact cannabis has had on the minority community in the years leading up to decriminalization. Disproportionate doesn't begin to summarize the scoreboard.  There was an article recently about Michigan cannabis's industry leaving minority's behind, and it highlighted that in 2000 if your were black you were 15 times more likely to be arrested for a marihuana related crime.  I could go on but I know you get it, and the response and path forward must be as aggressive as the road that got us here. Resume writing and prep courses to be a budtender just don't cut it in my opinion, not by a long shot.

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9 minutes ago, Wild Bill said:

Unless you invest in one yourself.

 

Seems like that should work.

However, seeing what happened with medical marijuana has taught me that they never give you what you want, they give a little, never everything, so they can keep milking you for more bribes.

They play one side of an issue against the other to collect from both sides.

No one ever seems to get what they want. 

The only thing that you can count on is if you don't bribe them they attempt to punish you.

So if you are broke you always get the crappy end of the stick.

We really need some rules to keep bribes out of it. 

 

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