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Detroit officials propose law allowing adult-use marijuana sales

In an effort to help Detroiters benefit from recreational marijuana legalization, Councilman James Tate — with the support of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan — is proposing an ordinance that would allow sales to adults in the city.

It’s a significant departure from the city’s position now, which allows medical marijuana businesses but prohibits recreational sales. It also is likely to face legal and political opposition as the city council takes up serious debate on the measure.

Tate, who also was identified as the architect of the plan and is a former Detroit Police Department deputy chief, and the mayor held a livestreamed news conference Monday at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to explain the proposal — and why they support it.

“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,” Tate said.

Still, he said he has already received emails threatening lawsuits to stop the proposal.

During the livestreamed announcement, some watchers on social media raised questions about the plan, while others seemed to embrace it, typing phrases like “Let weedom ring,” and one person commenting: “So who wants to team up and get a business off the ground? Inbox me.”

Tate said while the plan will not solve all of Detroit’s problems, it will help, and he will fight for it.

“We’ve got folks who don’t want to see equity in the place were residents live and the industry is located,” he said, vowing that he and others would push back against challenges “until hell freezes over, and then, if necessary, fight on the ice.”

Duggan said the plan work was a legally tricky area, but added he is convinced it is possible and what Detroiters want, noting that a significant majority, 69%, of city voters cast ballots to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018.

“In the past when licenses for marijuana businesses become available, they tend to go to nonresidents, rather than those who live in this community,” Duggan said. “What Councilman Tate has crafted here in partnership with our law department ensures that longtime Detroit residents will have the opportunity to build real wealth as part of this lucrative new industry.”

Of Detroit’s 46 medical marijuana licenses, Duggan said, only four of them are held by Detroiters.

If allowed, he said he doesn’t want to see that happen to the city’s 75 recreational licences.

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The new proposal, which Tate deemed historic, would require at least half of all new licenses to be issued to what he is calling “legacy Detroiters,” people who have lived in Detroit for at least a year at the time of their application for a license, and either 15, 13 or 10 of the past 30 years in the city, depending on other factors.

The residency requirements would only be 13 years for low income residents, and 10 years for anyone with a criminal record tied to substance abuse.

Nonresidents would be allowed to partner with residents to apply for licenses, but city officials said, they had to be legitimate partners not straw-man companies.

Tate said Detroiters who applied would be given first priority for the limited number of licenses to sell recreational-use marijuana and operate other businesses connected to the industry. They also would be given substantial discounts on application fees and opportunity to buy city land for their businesses.

**the event will begin at 1:00 pm** * Legislation to include robust social equity program focused on inclusion and opportunity * At least 50% of all new licenses would be issued to “Legacy Detroiters” * Legacy applicants to receive first priority, discounts on application fees and city land * 10 types of licenses to be available Today Councilman James Tate will be joined by Mayor Mike Duggan and members of the community as he announces an amendment to the Detroit City Code to allow adult-use marijuana licensing in Detroit. The item will be referred to the full body of the Detroit City Council and if approved following a series of discussions and public hearings, passage would allow licensing for the following state approved categories: medical marihuana provisioning center, adult use retailer establishment, grower, processor, safety compliance facility, temporary marihuana event, microbusiness, designated consumption lounge and secure transporter. Additionally, Councilman 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. This comprehensive program ensures that Detroiters who have been disproportionally impacted by the nation’s failed “War on Drugs” will have an equitable opportunity to sustainably participate in the state’s legal adult-use marijuana industry which according to experts is predicted to mature into $3 billion in annual sales. “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”, said Councilman Tate. “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.” To ensure that Detroiters remain in the forefront of this historic legislation, Councilman Tate enlisted assistance of industry professionals as well as grass-root advocates to help craft the SEP section of the ordinance. The SEP allows the City of Detroit to provide significant reductions in application fees for “Legacy” Detroiters who have lived in the city for an extended period of time including those residents who have been convicted of past marijuana related offenses as well as Detroiters federally identified as low income. There are also discounts on certain city-owned properties that will be available for residents certified as Legacy Detroiters. “In the past when licenses for marijuana businesses become available, they tend to go to non-residents, rather than those who live in this community,” said Mayor Duggan. “What Councilman Tate has crafted here in partnership with our law department ensures that longtime Detroit residents will have the opportunity to build real wealth as part of this lucrative new industry.” WHO: * Mayor Duggan * Councilman James Tate * Detroit medical marijuana businesses owners, cannabis activists and industry representatives

Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008. A decade later, when voters approved recreational cannabis in the state, about 1,400 communities including Detroit opted out of legally allowing the drug to be sold for nonmedical use.

“Many are now profiting from the same plant that has led to countless criminal convictions which devastated countless families within our city,” Tate said. “The time has come for equity currently not present within Detroit’s cannabis industry.”

The measure is set to be presented as an amendment to the Detroit City Code, and expected to face discussion and debate by the Detroit City Council, and public hearings to give residents a chance to also weigh in on it.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Councilman James Tate will announce a proposed ordinance allowing adult-use marijuana sales in the city.

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