Detroit Has Finally Come to an Agreement on Recreational Marijuana

Finally, Detroit has approved an ordinance that will permit recreational cannabis retailers and other adult-use businesses to operate within the City of Detroit. 

The major hold up for Detroit was that Detroit’s City Council wanted to make sure that at least half of the recreational pot businesses are owned and operated by city residents. 

According to High Times Magazine, Detroit Councilmember James Tate shared that this ordinance is over 2 years in it’s making, desiring to “to identify ways to make sure there’s success” for residents of the city. HT says according to their stats “only four of Detroit’s 46 medical marijuana retailers are owned by people who live in the city,” and “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.”


50% of the licenses will be awarded to applicants with a “Detroit Legacy” status, which means they will have had to live in the city for at least 15 out of the past 30 years, or 13 years if the applicant is considered “low-income.” Those who have a marijuana conviction who have lived in Detroit for the last 10 of the 30 years will also qualify to snag a license.


According to WDIV Local 4, “Passage of this ordinance by the full body of the Detroit City Council allows licensing for the following state approved categories: adult-use retailer establishment, grower, processor, safety compliance facility, temporary marihuana event, microbusiness, designated consumption lounge and secure transporter.”


“The ordinance also mandates that at least $1 million dollars generated annually from licensing sales be used for various adult-use social equity initiatives and a portion of adult use sales taxes will also fund substances use prevention programming for youth.”


According to Local 4’s report, the local licensing fees will also be lower for legacy Detroiters looking to apply, and there will be a six-week exclusive early licensing period. 


As far as the Federal regulations in the U.S., NORML shares that the MORE Act, HR 3884 is set to be discussed in the first week of December.

They shared the following:

“House Leadership today posted notice for Congressional consideration of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3884, which ends the federal prohibition of cannabis. The MORE Act is scheduled for a floor vote next week.

‘This floor vote represents the first Congressional roll call ever on the question of ending federal marijuana criminalization,’ said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. ‘By advancing the MORE Act, the House of Representatives sends an unmistakable signal that America is ready to close the book marijuana prohibition and end the senseless oppression and fear that this failed policy wreaks on otherwise law-abiding citizens.’

He concluded, ‘Americans are ready to responsibly legalize and regulate marijuana, and this vote shows some lawmakers are finally listening.'”


More from NORML: 

The MORE Act ends the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana by descheduling it from the Controlled Substances Act, thus providing individual states with the authority to be the primary arbiters of cannabis policy. 

FURTHER: The MORE Act would also make several other important changes to federal marijuana policy, including:

  • Facilitating the expungement of low-level, federal marijuana convictions, and incentivizing state and local governments to take similar actions;
  • Creating pathways for ownership opportunities in the emerging regulated industry for local and diversely-reflective entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration grant eligibility;
  • Allowing veterans, for the first time, to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their VA doctors;
  • Removing the threat of deportation for immigrants accused of minor marijuana infractions or who are gainfully employed in the state-legal cannabis industry;
  • Providing critical reinvestment grant opportunities for communities that have suffered disproportionate rates of marijuana-related enforcement actions.

Key Facts:

  • According to a recent report by the ACLU, Black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than white Americans.
  • According to the FBI UCR, over 545,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes in 2019 alone, over 90% of those arrested were charged with mere possession.
  • The state-legal cannabis industry employs over 243,000 full-time workers; that is over four times the number of jobs specific to the coal industry.
  • While the substance is not without harm, cannabis is objectively less harmful than legal and regulated alcohol and tobacco.




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