Detroit's First Marijuana Retailers, GOP Cannabis Research Bill, New Jersey's $10M Funding Program

Detroit Awards First Rec Cannabis Retail Licenses

Last week, Detroit officials awarded the first 33 recreational cannabis licenses after a months-long reviewing process.

The Office of Marijuana Ventures & Entrepreneurship gave the green light to licenses for 13 non-equity applicants and 20 equity applicants, reported CBS Detroit.

"Our goal from the day voters approved the sale of adult-use marijuana was to make sure we had a city ordinance and a process in place that provides fair and equitable access to these licenses and the courts have affirmed that we've done just that," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release.

The city officials also said that they plan to issue a total of 160 permits in three phases.

GOP Lawmaker (Re)Files Cannabis Research Bill

Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill in Washington, a GOP lawmaker has made another effort to put marijuana research in the spotlight.

On Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) refiled the Medical Cannabis Research Act, as a lame-duck session in the current Congress is poised to wrap up, reported Marijuana Moment.

Even though the text of the newest version of the bill is not available yet, a prior version of the measure introduced in Congress in 2019 sought the Justice Department to approve additional manufacturers of research-grade cannabis and protect institutions looking to study cannabis in addition to directing the VA to inform veterans about possible participation in cannabis studies that the government approves.

In addition, the initial version of the bill dates back to 2018. That measure got approval from the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee. However, it stumbled upon opposition from Democratic lawmakers as it sought to prohibit the production of cannabis for research purposes for those with "a felony or drug-related misdemeanor." 

New Jersey Announces $10M Funding Program To Support Cannabis Start-Ups

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board wrapped up the year by forming the Cannabis Equity Grant Program, which will support start-ups by assisting with early-stage expenses, such as regulatory fees, rental costs, utilities and wages, as well as technical training.

The agency has set aside $10 million in state funding for the cause.

"The establishment of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program will help aspiring small business owners meet start-up expenses in a pivotal sector within our state's ever-growing economy," Governor Phil Murphy said in the press release. "Most importantly, the program will erode considerable barriers to access for communities of color, which this program will help to equip with the resources they need not just to enter, but thrive, in this exciting new industry."

Under the program, which is open to businesses that already hold a conditional cannabis license, launched after March 2020 and with up to 50 employees - social equity applicants have an opportunity to obtain up to $250,000 in funding.

Photo: Benzinga Edit, Source: Shutterstock

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralCannabis Equity Grant Programcannabis regulatory updateDetroitMatt GaetzMedical Cannabis Research ActMike DugganNew JerseyNJEDAPhil MurphyRecreational Marijuana
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