Detroit City Council Approves Adult-Use Cannabis Ordinance

green plant on black plastic container

The Detroit City Council has officially voted to unanimously approve an adult-use recreational cannabis ordinance. 

Under the ordinance, known as Chapter 20 of the 2019 Detroit City Code, the city will now allow licensing for the following state approved categories: 

Adult-use retail establishments, growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, temporary marihuana events, microbusiness, designated consumption lounges, and secure transporters.

Social Equity and Community Outreach

The plan also includes a social equity program. The program will guarantee that no less than 50% of all license types will be awarded to Detroit Legacy applicants. Applicants can apply for the “legacy” certification if they have lived in Detroit for 15 of the last 30 years; lived in Detroit for 13 of the last 30 years and are low-income; or lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have a past cannabis-related conviction.

Legacy Detroiters will be able to purchase city-owned land at 25% of market value and receive a 99% discount on application fees. This will help to ensure that residents have an equitable opportunity to participate in the industry. 

The ordinance also includes community outreach provisions and a good neighbor program which encourages industry participants to hire returning citizens and offer equitable wages. 

Councilmember James Tate, who introduced the ordinance, told WXYZ, “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.” Tate also said:

“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 provide genuine opportunity for Detroiters to create generational wealth.”


“This Isn’t a Game…”

In a virtual hearing on Tuesday, November 24th, medical cannabis operators and locals expressed their advocacy for the ordinance with a variety of rationale. 

As reported by Detroit News, Detroit resident Mitzi Ruddock, who has a prior conviction, noted to the council how cannabis changed his life both mentally and economically.

“I and many other Detroiters have sacrificed so much to see the day that brings generational wealth to our children through legal cannabis businesses,” said Ruddock, who also runs Black Cannabis Access, an organization dedicated to helping urban communities reach their full potential in the cannabis industry. 

“This isn’t a game nor has it ever been a side hustle for us,” she continued. “Detroiter-owned companies will hire Detroit employees, which will support Detroit families and rebuild Detroit communities and contribute to Detroit income tax base.”

The adult-use law is expected to go into effect this January and will license up to 75 adult-use retailers. 


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Emerald contributor since June 2019


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