Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2018, the proposed ordinance to diversify Michigan residents’ recreational space is officially announced by Councilman James Tate and Mayor Mike Duggan to the Detroit City Code.
Under the proposed ordinance, “legacy Detroiters” will be granted the opportunity to apply through the social equity program with having a significant preference on licenses, discounts on land, and other incentives towards start-up. The following ten licenses will be available for applicants: medical marijuana provisioning center, adult-use retailer establishment, grower, processor, secured transporter, safety compliance facility, temporary marijuana event, microbusiness, designated consumption lounge, and secure transporter.
“Legacy Detroiters” must currently reside in Detroit and have lived in the city for 15 of the last 30 years, 13 for the previous 30 and low income, or 10 for the previous 30 and have a marijuana conviction.
A big push towards the proposed ordinance is to diversify the market and make strides towards reversing the War on Drugs. “Many are now profiting from the same plant that has led to countless criminal convictions which devastated countless families within our city. The time has come for equity currently not present within Detroit’s cannabis industry.” reported by The Detroit News.
In a 2018 report by the ACLU, Black people in Michigan were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white.
He continued, “We have taken the necessary time to craft legislation that is not aimed at excluding anyone from their goals to succeed in this market but to ensure that we legally provide a pathway towards inclusion and opportunity for residents of our city, which has been disproportionately impacted by marijuana convictions,”
Additionally, on the Proposed Ordinance Fact Sheet, the ordinance will run under these five fundamental principles:
1. Detroit Legacy applicants will get a minimum of 50% of all newly created recreational marijuana business licenses issued in Detroit.
2. No license will be issued to any recreational business if it reduces the number of licenses issued to Detroit Legacy applicants below 50%.
3. There will be a six-week exclusive early licensing period for Detroit Legacy applicants.
4. Detroit Legacy applicants will be able to purchase city-owned land at 25% of fair market value.
5. The City will work with philanthropy and private lenders to develop sources of funding and expertise to back Detroit-owned marijuana business start-ups.
In a March 2020 article from Mlive, Michigan had an underwhelming 5 million in tax revenue for the state versus the expected 130 million within the first year of recreational marijuana sales. Some contributing factors suggested the lack of facilities, availability, and disproportionally affected communities.
“Many are now profiting from the same plant that has led to countless criminal convictions which devastated countless families within our city. The time has come for equity currently not present within Detroit’s cannabis industry”, said Tate.
Through work groups with countless grassroots and industry professionals, Tate created an incentive program to align the law with Black entrepreneurs’ social and economic injustices in the city.
The future of the proposed ordinance will be a series of public hearings and need approval from city council. If passed, the ordinance will have no effect on the medicinal marijuana businesses in Detroit.