Detroit May Ban Recreational Marijuana Businesses

The Detroit City Council will review and discuss banning recreational marijuana businesses during its meeting on September 22, 2019. The City Council will review a report from the Law Department and determine whether to move forward with a public hearing on the matter.

If adopted, Detroit would be an outlier. Other large cities such as Ann Arbor, Lansing, East Lansing, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Battle Creek, and others opted into recreational marijuana. However, these cities have delayed the acceptance of applications until the state starts to accept applications or some other future time.

Detroit enacted its medical marijuana ordinance in March 2018. The city currently has 75 medical marijuana facilities that serve 673,104 residents. The city stopped accepting applications for provisioning centers in October 2018.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency has identified Detroit as a city that meets the Social Equity Program criteria for recreational marijuana businesses. Qualifying cities must have over 30% of its population below the federal poverty level. Under the Social Equity Program, qualifying participants may receive financial aid and help with the application. The regulator is holding an educational meeting for Detroit residents on September 23, 2019.

Partners in the Social Equity Program will help qualifying participants complete the social equity and recreational facility applications. The state will also provide a discounted application fee. A social equity applicant must, however, retain majority ownership in the business.

Detroit could be implementing a temporary ban on recreational marijuana until the Social Equity Program is fully implemented. Social equity participants may be shut out of the processes for cities that open application windows before the program is fully implemented. The cities that qualify for the Social Equity Program should consider this issue prior to adopting final ordinances.

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