The Detroit City Council on Tuesday harmoniously approved the law allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in the state.

Feature photo source: Unsplash

The ammended ordinance allows for the operation of recreational marijuana shops in Detroit.

Before the amendments, Detroit only gave provisions for medical marijuana businesses within city limits.

Detroit City Council Member James Tate Champions for the Amendment

Councilman James Tate was at the forefront of championing for change in the city code with regard to marijuana legislation.

Tate proposed the amendment and unveiled the plan late October.

Tate said that he hoped Detroit residents would be direct participants in the growing cannabis industry when proposing the law allowing adult-use marijuana sales.

“I believe what we are submitting is well thought out, respectful of the rights of all, and ensures that residents of Detroit — which have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs — has a fair chance at the opportunities the cannabis industry has to offer,”  said Tate. 

The ordinance will take effect in January.

Half of All Licenses Awarded in Detroit Will Go to Legacy Residents

At the heart of the ordinance is that the people of Detroit will benefit from the billion-dollar marijuana business. According to the legislation, residents will have an equitable opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry. Marijuana business is estimated to yield $3 billion in annual sales.

The ordinance requires that half of the business owners come from the state and gives Detroit residents preference. Under the ordinance, so-called “legacy Detroiters” will get half of the 75 licenses available for recreational sales.

Other perks that Detroit residents will enjoy include discounts on the purchase of land and the number of licenses issued. “Not only will this give Detroiters an in-road into the business,” Tate said, “it should ensure they have some success.”

Detroit City Council Member James Tate Expresses Optimism over the Win

City Council member James Tate has been at the front-line championing for its approval. His efforts bore fruit on Tuesday as the ordinance passed by 9-0 votes. He did not wait to express his excitement.

“I am thankful for the assistance of my colleagues, the social equity workgroup, my staff as well as Mayor Duggan and his team for help in crafting such a comprehensive ordinance”, said Tate. “We’ve seen around the country where individuals who live in the municipality where the industry is located are frozen out and not having an opportunity to participate,” Tate continued. 

The former Detroit Police Department deputy chief explained that one of his biggest drives in creating the new rules was fighting inequalities in the state.

“We have taken lessons learned from other cities around the state and country that opened up the adult-use market and applied elements that we believe will help provide opportunity for those seeking to enter and succeed in the cannabis industry. We have taken major steps to address the inequities found in the city’s current medical marijuana industry and included provisions that provides genuine opportunity for Detroiters to create generational wealth,” said Tate.

Who is Eligible for the Detroit Legacy Status?

Marijuana is a hot ticket out of poverty for businesses right now. Everyone wants a piece of the action. For Detroit residents, that means being a legacy resident.

In the upcoming license application, the current Detroit residents who have lived in the city for a minimum period of a year will be given preference.

Furthermore, applicants must be able to document that they have lived in Detroit for either:

  • 15 of the last 30 years
  • Lived in Detroit for 13 of the last 30 years and are low income or
  • Lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have a prior marijuana conviction

Who Is In Charge Of Collecting The Applications?

The City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department will begin accepting Detroit Legacy applications for certification in January 2021. The Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department will follow suit, accepting applications for adult-use licensing starting April 1, 2021.

History of Marijuana in Michigan

Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2008.

On the other hand, Michigan didn’t legalize recreational marijuana until nearly a decade later in November 2018. It became the first state in the Midwest to sell recreationally starting in December 2019.

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