Detroit finally begins adult-use cannabis business licensing

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After years of waiting, Detroit is now accepting applications for adult-use cannabis business licenses for retailers, microbusinesses and consumption lounges.

The application window for adult-use business licenses opened Sept. 1 and closes Oct. 1.

Michigan’s most-populous city will issue 160 licenses over three phases, including 60 permits during Phase One, regulators announced in a news release.

The 60 licenses in the first phase will include:

  • 40 for retailers.
  • 10 for consumption lounges.
  • 10 for microbusinesses. The microbusiness licenses allow vertical integration and up to 150 marijuana plants.

“Getting to this point has been an overly protracted process dating back to 2020 when the first ordinance was unanimously approved by Detroit City Council,” Council President Pro Tem James Tate told CBS News Detroit.

“Now, with the lawsuits and the failed ballot initiatives seeking to overturn our ordinance behind us, Detroiters and other equity applicants will have a fair opportunity to compete for adult-use licenses in a city that welcomes all to participate in the multimillion-dollar, adult-use cannabis industry.”

Michigan’s recreational marijuana market launched Dec. 1, 2019, but Detroit’s City Council banned recreational sales while it tried to develop program rules and a social equity program.

The Council announced those rules in October 2020 with hopes of accepting applications in January 2021 and issuing permits in summer 2021.

The application process initially opened April 1, 2021, but a federal judge closed the process a few days later with a restraining order after an aspiring applicant challenged the constitutionality of Detroit’s program.

A federal judge then suspended the program in June 2021.

The City Council introduced a new plan this past February and, after delayed votes on the proposal, finally approved the proposal in April with plans to open the license application process on 4/20.

The city issued a recreational grower’s license in May, but other lawsuits halted the licensing process again.

But a judge on Tuesday dismissed those lawsuits, opening the way for licensing to resume, the Detroit Free Press reported.