Detroit City Council approves adult use marijuana ordinance

At least 50% of all new licenses to be issued to “Legacy Detroiters”

San Antonio state lawmakers looking to expand marijuana use in the state

Important Points

  • Legislation includes robust social equity program to help build wealth amongst Detroiters
  • At least 50% of all new licenses to be issued to “Legacy Detroiters”
  • All state approved adult use licenses to be made available
  • Legacy applicants to receive priority application review, discounts on application fees

DETROIT – Today the Detroit City Council voted to unanimously approve an adult-use recreational marijuana ordinance also known as Chapter 20 of the 2019 Detroit City Code, which allows adult-use marijuana licensing in Detroit.

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 allows current medical marijuana licensees an opportunity at obtaining adult use licenses but works steadfastly to create an avenue of participation for residents of the city where this new industry will be located.

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Detroit City Council member James Tate’s legislation includes a social equity program (SEP) which guarantees that no less than 50% of all license types will be awarded to Detroit Legacy applicants who will also have first access to applications along with adult-use growers.

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.

The legislation also includes community outreach provisions and a good neighbor program that encourages industry participants to hire returning citizens and offer an equitable wage.

“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 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.”

Detroit’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer issued a fiscal impact statement that forecasts that the ordinance will have a positive fiscal impact on the City budget by creating a new revenue stream that is estimated to be between $7 million to $8 million annually as the industry matures.

Tate enlisted the assistance of industry professionals as well as grass-root advocates who helped craft the SEP section of the ordinance, which includes the following benefits for Legacy Detroiters:

  • Legacy applicants to receive 50% of all newly created recreational marijuana business licenses
  • Significant reductions in local licensing fees
  • Six-week exclusive early licensing period
  • Ability to purchase certain city-owned property at 25% of fair market value (for adult use facilities only)

Those who qualify for Detroit Legacy status must be current Detroit residents who have lived in the city for at least a year prior to their license application.

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

a. 15 of the last 30 years

b. Lived in Detroit for 13 of the last 30 years and are low income or

c. Lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have a prior marijuana conviction.

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

For more information about the adult-use marijuana ordinance or the social equity program component, reach out to or click here.