Post Midterm Elections: Michigan Missouri and Utah Can Take These Steps to Ensure a Fair Allocation of Cannabis Licenses

Citizens in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah voted to expand the legalized marijuana industry. State and local authorities must ensure that these voters share in the economic boom.

The commercialization of cannabis provides state and local regulators with a unique opportunity to help residents gain employment; encourage the growth of local businesses and services, and reduce taxes through an offset of cannabis sales taxes.  Regulators can reach these goals while preserving competition and innovation within the industry by ensuring that the scoring and selection methodology for distributing licenses among competitive applicants is fair, objective, quantitative and transparent. States and communities should review existing scoring methodologies and use a standard that provides the most benefits to residents:

  • Provide municipalities with a template ordinance that standardizes objective licensing decisions;

  • Reassess scoring methodology to ensure prior cannabis convictions are not the bases for rejecting a license if they are or will be expunged under the new laws; 

  • Ensure municipalities use a fair and open process for accepting and approving special use permits, especially in the presence of competing applications;

  • Publicize scoring and weighting methodology for competing applicants and the final scores; 

  • Provide small business resources to entrepreneurs including access to capital, regulatory support services, and operational planning; and

  • Provide transparency regarding tax revenues and local use of proceeds.

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