Michigan is turning into a cannabis hot spot, and it’s an opportunity and an industry that should prioritize diversity. We want this industry to reflect everything Michigan stands for and all of the people who call it home. That’s why we’re really excited to see Michigan Agricultural Services break ground.
Earlier this week, MAS broke ground on an expansive 25,000 indoor growing facility in Inkster, Michigan. MAS is a Black-owned business focused on cultivating the highest quality cannabis and bringing the Black and Brown community into the cannabis world.
Founders Sahir Al-Salam and Mark Stockdale are focused on providing cannabis products to medical patients and recreational consumers at affordable, competitive prices with a short supply chain to population centers in Southeast Michigan.
It’s important to remember that this is still an industry in its infancy. It was only in 2018 that Michigan legislation approved recreational marijuana. It means there is still an opportunity to include more diverse ownership. Of those who have expressed interest in owning a license to grow, 79% were white, with just 3% of those interested Black. Latinos were also underrepresented at just 1.5%. Blacks make up 14% of Michigan’s total population, while Latinos represent 5%. That means our industry doesn’t reflect our communities and our neighbors.
Being a young industry, we’re all still facing growing pains beyond diversity, too. Different cities have different levels of comfort in welcoming cannabis facilities and retailers, and that’s been a particular challenge in Detroit. Four Metro Detroit cities banned cannabis within city limits, with a total of 7 passing similar legislation. In other parts of the state, cities have been slow to allow or ban cannabis, leaving businesses on untenably shaky ground.
Still, MAS and the rest of the Michigan industry are looking ahead with optimism and self-awareness that other industries might be lacking. We’re all taking the opportunity to invest in inclusivity, sustainability, and always putting an emphasis on doing the right thing.
From Up North, all the best to Michigan Agricultural Services as they get rolling!