The Detroit City Council unanimously voted to approve the opening of the first phase of adult-use marijuana licensing for the retail (dispensary), microbusiness and consumption lounge categories. The City of Detroit’s Office of Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship will begin accepting applications for limited licenses within the city from August 1–31, 2022: including growers, processors, safety compliance labs, event organizers, and transportation licenses. The approval of today’s resolution is the city’s latest push to fully enter the state’s ever-expanding adult-use marijuana market. But what does this really mean for Detroit residents looking to enter the recreational cannabis business?
“There needs to be more education about making money and be successful in cannabis not necessarily being a licensed holder,” Attorney Christina McPhail, who specializes in cannabis advocacy, said. “What Detroiters need to realize like everywhere else in the business, collaboration is key. Where you might be eligible for the license and in the position to apply; I might not have the means but I have a service to provide; perhaps that cannabis service can be added to the table in another way; then maybe you and I can work together. The city’s point system is really looking at those people that are collaborating with each other in a team effort. That’s the only way sustainability will happen.”
A thorough review of the applications will be conducted by an independent third-party to ensure that all adult-use marijuana licenses are fairly, and transparently awarded. But not everyone that applies will be licensed. “It is problematic how Detroit first did this application process because now they are working to rectify it by making sure it’s more inclusive and that license holders in the city of Detroit truly represent residents of Detroit,” Attorney McPhail said. “But how do you do that when the original licensing ‛scheme’ gave out licenses to non-residents? And I call it a scheme because what happened was that city property owners were given this great opportunity to make profits when in reality most of those properties designated for cannabis use was not owned by Detroit residents.” Only 20 adult-use retailer establishment licenses, 20 adult-use retailer establishment-equity licenses, five designated consumption lounge licenses, five designated consumption lounge-equity licenses, five microbusiness licenses, and five microbusiness-equity licenses will be available for approval.