In late 2018 Michigan became the first Midwestern state to make recreational use of marijuana legal for those 21 or over who choose to. Yes, there is still a pretty big stigma attached to it and yes, there are still plenty of arguments pro or con that will probably take a generation or two of adaptation to get past. Like any change in societal "norms" some are all for it some are totally against it. Legally, it's ok as long as you're not operating under the influence or operating outside the laws set up when legalization passed.
The laws, well, they are complicated and like any newer law, it takes time and understanding for the majority of the people to get a grasp on what's happening. This includes those down the chain as laws go. From the Governor down to the local municipal leaders, a lot of education needs to happen so a clear picture can come in to focus about how the laws are set up, who can work within them and how things like licensing, operations and community benefits will be as an industry with a potentially huge amount of revenue comes into focus. If you think of the cannabis industry like you would alcohol or tobacco, you can see the amount of money we're talking about here. It's big.
Well, when those laws were passed in Michigan there were some stipulations made that some of this industry's revenues should go toward "Social Justice" issues. Meaning communities that have had an overly large amount of arrests when it comes to marijuana and who's poverty level is below certain thresholds. By definition "Social Justice" means justice in the distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society. Make that easier to understand? Well, what's being asked is that for those who can't afford the overly heavy licensing fees, the costs of permits, inspections and building expectations are given equal opportunity to create themselves and their communities a living, jobs and opportunity. It's pretty easy for a large company to come in and make the investments that are being asked for the operations to get started, but for the "little guy", getting going is often impossible because they simply can't compete. There are programs out there to help the upstarts, but it's getting the local municipal leaders to understand better a few things that seems to be the problem. It's an educational push at this point for those who wish to get a business going, create self sufficiency and move forward.
Locally, there's a small group trying to do just that. Today, we're joined by Ursula Harris and Maxwell McGuffey who are at the very beginnings of trying to help people understand a couple of things. 1) The size this industry will become. How far this revenue can go within a community for things. 2) That their chance to get started is often met by stereotypical thoughts of the past from municipalities and 3) The court of public opinion. It's more than understood that marijuana isn't for everyone, but Ursula and Maxwell do try to explain it here. Take a listen.
We're not here to fuel the argument either way. We all have our thoughts pro or con. But if someone has the opportunity to carve a living out for themselves and there are programs in place to help them do so, they should be afforded them. There's a lot of things to get past still with marijuana and old notions don't die off quickly. Change is inevitable, progress is not as fast as some would like and it's at a break neck pace for others. We'll keep an eye on all of it the best we can.