Detroit City Council approves ordinance for recreational marijuana sales

Marijuana Legalization
Posted at 12:36 PM, Apr 05, 2022

(WXYZ) — Detroit is now allowing recreational marijuana sales, nearly four years after the state of Michigan approved the sales.

The Detroit City Council voted 8-1 in favor of approving the recreational marijuana ordinance on Tuesday.

Under the plan, Detroit will reserve half the licenses for recreational marijuana for social equity factors, and allow the equity applicants to have the best opportunity to compete for licenses.

It also creates a separate track for recreational marijuana licensing that doesn't pit equity applicants against other applicants that have more resources and encourages partnerships between the two.

The ordinance will allow 76 adult-use recreational marijuana retailers and 30 licenses for consumption lounges and microbusinesses.

Marijuana businesses in Detroit are praising city council's latest vote.

“This administration gets it right," George Mugianis said.

Mugianis owns Luxury Loud in Detroit where it's a struggle to pay the bills and hold on to employees.

“We are in something that is very lucrative, but we’ve been struggling for a couple years," he said.

He said they've been struggling to pay the bills because for years, you could only sell for medicinal purposes. Mugianis says this is a huge win for businesses and a chance to keep dollars in the city of Detroit.

Council member Coleman Young II says this is a step in ending the war on drugs.

“Black men ages 18 to 24, 33% in this country went to prison because of the drug war, so those people deserve access to a license," Young said. "This is about social justice, this is about equity, diversity, inclusion and opportunity. Everyone who wants to participate to be able to get a license."

Council member Mary Waters says the ordinance favors “corporate interest” and not the people of Detroit.

“I am sick and tired of Black people just being consumers," Waters said.

She says the ordinance needs wording that helps Black people become owners, while providing them with the resources. 

“You have several people that are out there right now who want to be owners, but they need the land and the buildings. All of that is not readily available," Waters said.

The application process for people looking to open recreational dispensaries will begin soon.

City leaders say there are some final steps required before moving forward.