Councilman Tate, Mayor Duggan announce proposed ordinance allowing adult-use marijuana sales in Detroit

  • At least 50% of all new licenses would be issued to “legacy Detroiters”
  • Legacy applicants to receive first priority, discounts on city land
  • 10 types of licenses to be available
  • Proposed Ordinance would allow for up to 75 new retail licenses, among others

Councilman James Tate was joined today by Mayor Mike Duggan and members of the community as Tate announced his proposed amendment to the Detroit City Code to allow adult-use recreational marijuana licensing in Detroit.

The ordinance, which gives significant preference to long time Detroit residents in terms of the number of licenses issued, discounts on land and other incentives, will allow 10 types of licenses: Medical Marihuana provisioning center, adult use retailer establishment, grower, processor, safety compliance facility, temporary marihuana event, microbusiness, designated consumption lounge and secure transporter.

Councilman Tate’s landmark legislation includes a social equity program (SEP) which guarantees that no less than 50% of all license types will be awarded to Detroit Legacy applicants.

“We have 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 providing a pathway towards inclusion and opportunity for residents of our city, which has been disproportionately impacted by marijuana convictions,” said Councilman Tate. “Many are now profiting from the same plant that has lead 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.”

This comprehensive program ensures that Detroiters who have been disproportionally impacted by the nation’s failed “War on Drugs” will have an equitable opportunity to sustainably participate in the state’s legal adult-use marijuana industry, which according to experts is predicted to mature into $3 Billion in annual sales.

“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,” said Mayor Duggan. “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.”

To ensure that Detroiters remain in the forefront of this historic legislation, Councilman Tate enlisted assistance of industry professionals as well as grass-root advocates to help craft the SEP section of the ordinance. The SEP allows the City of Detroit to provide significant reductions in application fees for “Legacy” Detroiters who have lived in the city for an extended period of time including those residents who have been convicted of past marijuana related offenses as well as Detroiters federally identified as low income. There are also discounts on certain city-owned properties that will be available for residents certified as Legacy Detroiters.

Legacy Detroiter Preferences

The new ordinance creates a certification for Detroit residents called “Detroit Legacy.” To qualify for the Detroit Legacy program, you must currently reside in Detroit, and be able to document that you:

  • Lived in Detroit for 15 of the last 30 years, or
  • Lived in Detroit for 13 of the last 30 years and are low income, or
  • Lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have marihuana conviction.

Detroit legacy applicants who do not yet have a property to operate their business will be allowed to apply for a “provisional” license and will have one year to find a site. Per the draft ordinance, the City will not issue a license if it will result in Detroit Legacy licensees being under 50% in each category.

Detroit’s recreational license program will be administered according to five key principles:

  1. Detroit Legacy applicants will get a minimum of 50% of all newly created recreational marijuana business licenses issued in Detroit.
  2. No license will be issued to any recreational business if it reduces the number of licenses issued to Detroit Legacy applicants below 50%.
  3. There will be a six-week exclusive early licensing period for Detroit Legacy applicants.
  4. Detroit Legacy applicants will be able to purchase city-owned land at 25% of fair market value.
  5. The City will work with philanthropy and private lenders to develop sources of funding and expertise to back Detroit-owned marijuana business start-ups.

Next steps and application process

The item will be referred to the full body of the Detroit City Council this week. If approved following a series of discussions and public hearings, passage would allow licensing for the state approved categories. If approved by the end of this year, the application process would begin in January 2021.

Once the law goes into effect, the Department of Civil Right, Inclusion and Opportunity will begin certification of Detroit Legacy applicants. There will be a 6-week reserved application review period for Detroit Legacy applicants. After that there will be a 6-week reserved application review period for current Detroit medical marihuana facilities. Only after this 6-week period will other applications be considered and reviewed.

For more information about the adult-use marijuana ordinance, social equity program component, or license breakdown, reach out to [email protected] or visit

Media Contacts
Mayor Duggan's Office
John Roach
[email protected]

Councilmember James Tate's Office
Iesha Paul
[email protected]