Detroit City Council continues to sort through recreational marijuana ordinance

Councilman James Tate said they are close to finding a balance between both sides

Last summer, a judge put a halt to granting recreational marijuana licenses in the city of Detroit. Instead of waiting to go to trial, there's an ordinance amendment on the table. The result has been a long wait for people hoping to go into business.

DETROIT – Last summer, a judge put a halt to granting recreational marijuana licenses in the city of Detroit. Instead of waiting to go to trial, there’s a new ordinance on the table.

There’s already been a public hearing, and Tuesday (March 15), Detroit City Council was expected to take action. During a formal session Tuesday morning, Councilman James Tate requested a vote be postponed to next week. If significant changes are made to the ordinance, there will have to be another public hearing before it goes to a vote.

Read: Judge halts recreational marijuana licensing in Detroit over ‘likely unconstitutional’ ordinance

Detroiters still shared their thoughts on the ordinance during public comment.

“We have been fighting about this for five years, and I’m hoping we will soon get something passed,” said one community member.

Marlisa Meah of Evergreen Wellness Group said, “When you consider this amendment or ordinance that you think about us that are open already, we’ve been on the struggle six, seven years.”

“We really need this ordinance to pass,” said Kimberly Scott of Chronic City. “We have 10 Black provisional owners that are state-licensed legally ready to go and cross over to recreational.”

Councilman Tate said it was never the plan for an ordinance to take this long.

“In 2020, city council approved what’s currently on the ordinance, but unfortunately, it’s caught up in the courts, and in order for us, as the city of Detroit, to move forward on that particular ordinance, we would have to wait on a trial in September of this year,” Tate said.

Instead of waiting, they decided to move forward with a new ordinance that would amend the language they had before.

“What we have before us today is what I believe is an ordinance that works to address many of the varying concerns of our community,” Tate said.

“We want to make sure that we use this process to provide restorative justice and balance and equal opportunity to those who are most harmed,” said Councilman Coleman A. Young II. “In Oakland and Macomb, even next to us in River Rouge and Wayne Counties who are selling marijuana and are doing well. So I think it’s an opportunity for us to really participate in this.”

While many people showed their support during public comments, others still had questions and concerns.

While Detroit isn’t quite at the finish line, Tate said they are close to finding a balance between both sides.

“Here we are, all these years later, still trying to get it, but I think we’re well on track,” Tate said.


About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.