Detroit awards first 33 recreational marijuana retail licenses after court ruling

Detroit — Four years after Detroit voters overwhelmingly approved recreational marijuana sales, the city on Thursday awarded its first batch of licenses.

Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison joined City Council Pro Tem James Tate; Anthony Zander, director of Detroit’s Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity; and the city’s top attorney Conrad Mallet Jr. to announce the first 33 recipients of recreational adult-use marijuana retail licenses.

The announcement followed a Wednesday federal court ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who denied multiple lawsuits and temporary restraining orders against the city’s marijuana ordinance. Friedman previously ruled that the city’s first attempt at how to award recreational marijuana licenses to “legacy Detroiters” in 2020 was “likely unconstitutional.” Since then, the city has re-written the ordinance to be inclusive while still prioritizing equity applicants to give longtime Detroiters a leg up in the lucrative marijuana industry.

There is a 10% excess tax on top of 6% sales tax across the state for marijuana. Officials say there will be no additional tax beyond that.

Kim James, director of the city’s Marijuana Ventures & Entrepreneurship, expects the revenue sharing from marijuana to be in the millions for the city. Recreational cannabis in Michigan is forecasted to hit a new high of $1.5 billion this year and estimated to yield $3 billion in annual revenue in Michigan by 2024.

Bettison said Christmas came early for Detroiters.

“It has taken two versions of the ordinance and overcoming several core challenges but the team and several others have worked tirelessly to overcome every obstacle and detour,” Bettison said, thanking Tate for making sure the process was fair. “Recreational marijuana interest has tremendous potential to generate wealth in income for our city, as well as personal and generational wealth for those who participate.”

Under Detroit City Code, an equity applicant is a primary resident of Detroit who has been disproportionately impacted by marijuana enforcement where at least 20% of residents live below the federal poverty level and the marijuana conviction rate is higher than the state median of 660 convictions. The business must have at least 51% owned by such a person can also qualify as an equity advocate.

In total, the city received 90 applications, Zander said. Of those, 50 were non-equity retail licenses and the city is awarding 13. Of the city’s 33 equity license applications, 20 are being awarded.

There were no non-equity microbusiness applications and four equity microbusiness application, however, none were awarded.

For consumption lounges, there were no non-equity applicants and three equity applicants, none of which were awarded.

Tate, who led the initiative over the last few years, celebrated the news Thursday saying it has been a fight to make sure the lucrative industry was possible for those who are “disproportionately impacted.”

“I am very thankful for Judge Friedman’s wisdom in not allowing a temporary restraining order to take place that would again set us back and prevent us from moving forward,” Tate said. “This has been a very challenging journey to get to this point. Every step of the way, there’s criticism of people who say that you’re doing it wrong, you’re trying to make something perfect that can’t be perfect. … But today is why we fight and we fight because we want to make sure that this industry has no glass ceiling, especially for those that have been persecuted for the same plan.”

The 33 Detroit awardees

Equity Licenses

  1. House of Zen, 14501 Mack Ave.
  2. LIV Cannabis, 12604 E. Jefferson
  3. Motor City Kush, 10 E. 8 Mile                      
  4. Liberty Cannabis, 2540 Rosa Parks             
  5. High Profile, 20327 Groesbeck
  6. Chronic City, 6810 McNichols
  7. Plan B, 20101 W. 8 Mile
  8. DaCut, 12668 Gratiot
  9. Blue Wave, 1947 W. Fort
  10. The Remedy, 20041 W. 8 Mile
  11. Cloud Cannabis, 16003 Mack                    
  12. Gage 313, 14239 W. 8 Mile
  13. Detroit Herbal Center, 14325 Wyoming
  14. Nuggets, 18270 Telegraph
  15. Livernois Provision, 8305 Livernois
  16. Inhale, 15670 E. 8 Mile
  17. TJM Enterprises, 8600 E. 8 Mile #28
  18. The Herbalist, 15510 W. Warren
  19. Ivy League, 471 S. Schaefer
  20. SJTC Enterprises, 6640 E. 8 Mile

Non-Equity Licenses

  1. Luxury Loud, 2520 22nd
  2. THC Detroit, 19533 W. Warren
  3. Det Natural, 3394 Fort
  4. Jars Cannabis, 11400 8 Mile
  5. House of Dank, 3340 E. 8 Mile
  6. SMOK, 7461 W. 8 Mile
  7. Oz Cannabis, 16829 Harper
  8. MPP Services, 2710 Livernois
  9. West Coast Meds, 8620 Lyndon
  10. Cookies, 6030 8 Mile
  11. Southwest Meds, 6237 Federal
  12. Leaf and Bud, 14470 Livernois              
  13. Playa Kind, 8301 St. Aubin

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