Two years after Michigan voters legalized pot for adults, residents of the state’s largest city may finally get to take advantage. The Detroit Free Press reported that city councilman James Tate was set to offer up a proposal under which “sales would be allowed and at least half of all new licenses would be issued to what he is calling ‘legacy Detroiters,’” and that those “Detroiters would be given first priority for the licenses, in addition to discounts on application fees and city land,” with the aim to “ensure Detroiters who have been disproportionately impacted by the nation’s so-called ‘War on Drugs’ will have an opportunity to sustainably participate in the state’s legal adult-use marijuana industry.” The plan is endorsed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
“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,” Duggan said, according to the Free Press. “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.”
Tate said that the council has “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.”
“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,” Tate said, as quoted by the Detroit News.
Marijuana in Michigan
In 2018, Michigan passed a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults, however, a number of cities such as Detroit opted out and imposed bans on weed sales in their respective communities. The first dispensaries opened in December of last year.
It was Tate who advocated for a temporary ban on marijuana sales in the city last year, saying at the time that he wanted to create a program through which native Detroiters would benefit from the newly legalized industry. Tate and other members of the city council had been facing pressure to unveil the proposal, after a series of postponements to marijuana sales in the city. Tate said in June that it was a matter of the council doing its due diligence before taking the step. And he said that, as with any proposal, the council had to “make sure the community who oppose it and those who support it have time to review and chime in.”
“There’s no unreadiness to pass the ordinance to allow it,” Tate said at the time, as quoted by Metro Times. “There is unreadiness to just pass any ordinance without proper deliberation and consideration for what’s being proposed. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
In anticipation of Monday’s announcement, Tate said that the “time has come for equity currently not present within Detroit’s cannabis industry.”
“Many are now profiting from the same plant that has led to countless criminal convictions which devastated countless families within our city,” Tate said, as quoted by the Detroit Free Press.