Michigans Marijuana Industry Booms But Concerns of Diversity Remain
In Michigan, it's a lucrative business, but there are fewer and fewer marijuana dispensary owners in the state, and some want that to change. The marijuana industry is breaking records and is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue by the end of the year. “It's been a laborious process”, said Mike Kowalczyk, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Michigan.
It's a booming business, and with marijuana sales expected to reach $1 billion in Michigan this year, it's no surprise that more people want to participate. Bartell is and was a member of the Michigan Cannabis Business Association, the state's largest marijuana business association.
Bartell said the project has been preparing for about three years to test it by dealing with the state, city, and local officials. Michigan's black population is nearly 14 percent, but according to a voluntary survey by the Michigan Cannabis Business Association, only 4 percent identified themselves as holders of black cannabis licenses, a sign that getting a business going is not easy. However, only 19 percent of respondents answered "yes" or "no" to questions about their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.
Brisbon said entrepreneurs faced many problems starting a business, including access to capital and general guidelines in the industry. What we are really focusing on now is addressing some of the social justice issues that many states have and looking at diversity and inclusion in our industry and beyond, "he said. Brisbon said he proposes that the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Commission and other state and local officials can begin to combat inequality and develop ways, strategies, and ideas that help achieve better representation and ownership in cannabis spaces.
African-Americans - Americans, so it's very important to me to be African-American in this city, and things are much more rational now, "he said. Bartell is building and running his business in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife and two children.
Brisbon said he predicts the market will reach as much as $3 billion in the coming years, and Brisbo says he's optimistic. We are ready to put everything together and push it over the finish line and we are now ready to go and operate.