Detroit accepting 2nd wave of recreational cannabis licenses

Posted: July 11th, 2023 by Detroit Free Press

The City of Detroit will start accepting applications for limited marijuana business licenses on August 1. These licenses will include dispensaries, microbusinesses, and consumption lounges.

A total of 30 marijuana retailer licenses are available in this round, along with 10 microbusiness licenses and 10 consumption lounge licenses. Half of all licenses are set aside for “equity applicants,” including people who live in communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. Equity applicants also include those with certified Detroit Legacy status living in Detroit or another disproportionately impacted community.

The opening of the second round of licenses, which was posted on the city’s website, comes eight months after the city awarded 33 businesses recreational retail marijuana licenses. Shortly after, in early January, recreational marijuana officially became available for purchase in the city, with the medical marijuana dispensaries House of Dank on Fort Street, near the border of Lincoln Park, and DaCut on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit’s Eden Gardens neighborhood, opening their doors to recreational sales.

There are now 28 recreational marijuana dispensaries open in Detroit, according to a map of dispensaries on the city of Detroit’s website. No licenses were awarded in the first round for microbusinesses or consumption lounges.

The opening of these dispensaries marked the end of a yearslong effort to allow recreational marijuana sales in Detroit after it was legalized in Michigan in 2018. The city took several months to craft an ordinance to allow these businesses in the community, an ordinance that a federal judge called “likely unconstitutional,” forcing the city to write a new ordinance that also faced multiple legal challenges.

Many of the prospective licensees who were awarded a license in the first round were already operating a medical marijuana dispensary or were entrepreneurs opening in the location of a former dispensary, in part because strict zoning restrictions make it difficult to find suitable properties, cannabis entrepreneurs say, an issue that the city is currently trying to address by reducing distance cannabis retailers must be from other types of buildings.

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