Detroit OKs recreational pot ordinance that allows for consumption lounges 

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Adult-use cannabis dispensaries are finally coming to Michigan's biggest city.

Detroit City Council unanimously approved an adult-use recreational marijuana ordinance on Tuesday. Not only does the new ordinance catch Detroit up with other communities in the state that have opted-in for recreational cannabis sales, but it surpasses them by allowing for designated consumption lounges — something that isn't yet offered elsewhere.

While Detroit has allowed medical marijuana dispensaries, it decided to wait to opt-in for recreational adult-use dispensaries until it could develop a social equity program meant to help those harmed by the War on Drugs, which has disproportionately impacted Black and brown people. The legislation was introduced by Councilmember James Tate.

"I am thankful for the assistance of my colleagues, the social equity workgroup, my staff as well as Mayor Duggan and his team for help in crafting such a comprehensive ordinance," Tate said in a statement. "We have taken lessons learned from other cities around the state and country that opened up the adult-use market and applied elements that we believe will help provide opportunity for those seeking to enter and succeed in the cannabis industry. We have taken major steps to address the inequities found in the city's current medical marijuana industry and included provisions that provide genuine opportunity for Detroiters to create generational wealth."

The ordinance guarantees no less than 50% of all license types will be awarded to "Detroit Legacy" applicants, who will also be given priority and lower licensing fees. Additionally, "Legacy" applicants can purchase some city-owned property at 25% of fair market value for adult-use facilities.

"Detroit Legacy" status refers to current Detroit residents who have lived in the city for at least a year prior to their license application, and have lived in Detroit for either 15 of the last 30 years, or 13 of the last 30 years and are low income, or lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have a prior marijuana conviction.

The ordinance also mandates that at least $1 million dollars generated annually from licensing sales be used for social equity initiatives and a portion of adult-use sales taxes will also fund drug abuse programming for youth.

According to Detroit's Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the ordinance will create between $7-$8 million in new revenue for the city.

The City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department will start accepting Detroit Legacy applications for certification in January 2021 and the Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department will start accepting applications for adult-use licensing starting April 1, 2021. More information is available here.

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