Two educational sessions on the Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s social equity program will be held in Berrien County, according to a news release from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Attendance is free but space is limited.

In Benton Harbor, a session will start at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 in the Anchor Room of Benton Harbor Michigan Works, 499 W. Main St., Benton Harbor. To register, go to

A session in Niles will start at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 at the Niles District Library, 620 E Main St. To register, go to

The sessions will provide information on fee reductions available to participants in the 19 communities in the social equity program, and an overview of the adult-use (recreational) licensing and application process.

The other cities in the program include Albion, Detroit, East Lansing, Ecorse, Flint, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Inkster, Kalamazoo, Mount Morris, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, River Rouge, Saginaw and Ypsilanti.

Participants will have an opportunity to complete the social equity application and to interact one-on-one with social equity representatives.

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, approved by voters in November 2018, requires the MRA to develop “a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marijuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities,”

Participating in the program allows qualifying applicants to benefit from a reduction of up to 60 percent off the application fee, the initial license fee and future renewal fees, which will be calculated as follows for qualifying applicants:

• A 25 percent reduction for those who have been a resident of one of the 19 communities for the past five years and whose marijuana establishments will be located in one of the communities.

• An additional 25 percent reduction if the people holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the communities for the past five years and have a marijuana-related conviction.

• An additional 10 percent reduction for people holding majority ownership have been a resident of one of the communities for the past five years and were registered as primary caregivers for at least two years between 2008 and 2017.