Cannabis Licensing Begins In Detroit & Continues In Massachusetts

The Detroit City Council approved a revised adult-use cannabis ordinance in April after a U.S. district judge blocked the city’s previous attempt to license recreational cannabis businesses in 2021.

Good News For Detroit Cannabis Entrepreneurs

The city received 90 applications for 60 recreational marijuana licenses available in the first round, which include licenses for dispensaries, microbusinesses, and consumption lounges. The Detroit Free Press reported that the city will issue a total of 160 licenses in three phases, which will include 40 retail, 10 microbusiness, and 10 consumption lounge licenses.

Kim James, director of Detroit’s office of marijuana ventures and entrepreneurship explained: “Fifty non-equity and 40 equity applications were submitted by the deadline of Oct. 1, with 28 of the 40 equity applicants qualifying for Detroit Legacy status as well.”

The ordinance initially sought to allow entrepreneurs to receive “Detroit Legacy” status when applying for recreational cannabis permits, those who have lived in the city for a certain number of years and are low-income or have past marijuana-related convictions.

An Equitable Program

The state’s program is meant to promote and encourage the participation of people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities. James Tate, a sponsor of the legislation, called the program “the best opportunity possible for equity applicants and Legacy Detroiters to compete for these licenses.”

To decide which applicants receive a license, and score the applications the city selected Rob Huth of the Clinton Township law firm Kirk, Huth, Lange, and Badalamenti. “I appreciate the opportunity and I know that the city’s ordinance is going to be groundbreaking in terms of giving equity applications an opportunity,” Huth said. “I’m glad to assist.”

However, legal hurdles facing the Legacy Detroiter preference program for long-term residents seeking to enter the cannabis industry are gathering steam, a month after a judge dropped two lawsuits challenging the license application process.

Recreational Licenses In Massachusetts

In Northampton, Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra recently denied a proposed marijuana dispensary, saying “community opposition had made it clear to her that the business was not right for the neighborhood.”

“The prospective Florence dispensary, Euphorium, would potentially have been the 14th cannabis retailer in the community of 29,000. A dozen shops are operating in the city, half of which opened in the last year. A 13th is seeking final state approval on its license,” reported Mass Live.

Since November 2018, the industry in Northampton has grown since the city opened the first two adult-use dispensaries two years after legalization and more than a month after the Cannabis Control Commission voted on the matter and issued four licenses.

Photo: Courtesy Of Damian Barczak On Unsplash

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