Two weeks after Detroit City Council members voted, 8-1, to allow adult-use cannabis businesses to start operating in their jurisdiction, Michigan’s largest city opened its online application process.
Starting April 20, Detroit officials began accepting license applications from potential growers, processors, secured transporters, safety compliance facility operators (testing) and event organizers, offering a step-by-step guide with a checklist to assist in obtaining a license.
Those five license types are unlimited under the ordinance council members approved April 5.
Meanwhile, adult-use retail licenses will be capped at 100, half of which will be reserved for social equity applicants. The Office of Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship, which operates under the Detroit Department of Civil Rights Inclusion and Entrepreneurship (CRIO), will provide updates on its website for when applications for those licenses will become available.
“We are so excited to announce the opening of our adult-use marijuana licensing program,” Megan Moslimani, director of Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship, said in a news release. “We are confident and proud of the space that we have carved out for social equity applicants to take part in this billion-dollar industry.”
In 2021, Michigan’s adult-use dispensaries sold more than $1.3 billion in cannabis, while medical cannabis retailers sold more than $481,000, according to Cannabis Regulatory Agency (formerly Marijuana Regulatory Agency) data.
In addition, the Ventures and Entrepreneurship office is also charged with overseeing medical cannabis license applications and renewals, as well as licenses for microbusinesses and designated consumption facilities.
CIRO will provide city council members with a recommended date of when licenses can begin being issued, and then the members will vote to approve the date, according to the news release.
The department plans to take 90 days to hire a third-party scoring firm for the license applications and to identify a program to host the lottery for any remaining licenses in the event of a tie, according to the release.
The ordinance passed by council members earlier this month provides separate avenues for Detroit residents and non-residents to receive the limited retail licenses, so that the two types of potential licenses winners do not compete against each other.
Navigating legal hurdles, including an injunction blocking a previous attempt to license cannabis retailers that would have given priority to those who obtained “Detroit Legacy” status, Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration and the ordinance’s sponsor, Council President Pro Tem James Tate, have worked for more than a year at putting together a system aimed at providing equitable opportunities for longtime Detroiters to participate in the adult-use industry.
When the ordinance was passed, Tate said, “The goal has never been to simply have licensing within the city, but to create policy that works to address the inequities that so many Detroiters have experienced trying to pursue an opportunity in this industry.”