Detroit Awards 33 Marijuana Licenses After Yearslong Legal Battle

This was the first of three application rounds for licenses.

This story was reprinted with permission from Crain’s Detroit and written by Arielle Kass

The city of Detroit on Thursday announced it had awarded marijuana licenses to 33 companies, capping a yearslong legal battle about who gets to sell recreational cannabis in the city.

There were 90 applications for dispensaries, “micro facilities” that grow up to 100 plants, and consumption lounges in the first of three rounds of applications. The city did not award any micro facility or consumption licenses to the seven equity applicants in those categories; there were no non-equity applications. Of the 33 equity applicants for dispensary licenses, 20 were approved; there were 50 non-equity dispensary applicants and 13 were awarded licenses.

The social equity licenses are designed to ensure populations that were disproportionately targeted by marijuana arrests can benefit from the legalization of cannabis in the state. To qualify as an equity applicant, an applicant must be a qualified resident of Detroit or another community determined to be disproportionately impacted by the historical prohibition on marijuana. A business that is at least 51% owned by such a person can also qualify as a social equity applicant.

In emotional statements, several new awardees recounted the effort it took to get approval. They said they hoped Detroit could be an example for the nation in terms of creating equitable opportunities for people who had been targeted by the war on drugs.

“Today is why we fight,” said City Council President Pro Tem James Tate. “We don’t want to go with the flow in Detroit, we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

The approvals came after a federal judge, Bernard Friedman, denied a request to further delay the distribution of the licenses, Tate said. He said the city will continue to fight lawsuits as they are filed.

“We’re not walking away, we’re not running away,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison described it as an “early Christmas” for the “deserving applicants.”

“It’s been a long, four-year journey, fraught with false starts and legal challenges, but we made it,” he said. “This is a celebration.”

There will be two more rounds of applications, said Anthony Zander, the director of the Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity, with round two expected to begin at the end of January.

Equity applicants receiving licenses:

  • House of Zen
  • LIV Cannabis
  • Motor City Kush, Detroit
  • Liberty Cannabis
  • High Profile Cannabis Shop
  • Chronic City Cannabis
  • Plan B Wellness Center
  • Dacut
  • Blue Wave
  • The Remedy
  • Cloud Cannabis
  • Gage 313
  • Detroit Herbal Center
  • Nuggets
  • Livernois Provisioning
  • Inhale
  • TJM Enterprises
  • The Herbalist
  • Ivy League
  • SJTC Enterprises, LLC.

Non-Equity Applicants Receiving Licenses:

  • Luxury Loud
  • THC Detroit
  • Detroit Natural Selections
  • JARS Cannabis
  • House of Dank
  • SMOK
  • OZ Cannabis
  • MPP Services, LLC
  • West Coast Meds
  • Cookies
  • Southwest Meds
  • Leaf and Bud
  • Playa Kind, LLC

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