Detroit Approves Recreational Marijuana Ordinances

November 25, 2020


On November 24, Detroit City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana retail sales and expansions to its social equity program. Now approved, the ordinance will go into effect in January 2021. This ordinance will allow up to 75 business licenses each for medical marijuana provisioning centers and recreational use retail establishments, and 35 licenses for microbusinesses and designated consumption lounges. Unlimited licenses are available for growers, processors, secured transporters, events, and safety compliance facilities. 

Detroit’s marijuana ordinance includes preferences for Detroiters under its “Detroit Legacy” certification. Applicants can qualify for this certification if they have lived in Detroit for 15 out of the last 30 years; lived in Detroit for 13 of the past 30 years and are low-income, or 10 out of the last 30 years and have a past marijuana-related conviction.  In addition, Detroit Legacy applicants receive other benefits, including a six-week early application period, the ability to purchase city-owned land at 25% of fair market value, and at least 50% of recreational marijuana business licenses will go to Legacy applicants. Detroit officials plan to work with philanthropic groups and private lenders to encourage funding and local expertise to support Detroit-owned startups. 

Council members also included amendments to the ordinance requiring a minimum pay of $15 per hour, and that temporary marijuana event licenses include community outreach. Earlier versions of the ordinance were not as robust in their support for Legacy applicants, and Council members felt that additional opportunities for Detroit residents were needed. These changes were made with the advice of industry leaders and grassroots organizers and intended to ameliorate challenges faced by social equity applicants. The industry is expected to yield $3 billion in annual sales. 

If you would like assistance in finding a location or applying for a Detroit marijuana business license, contact John Mackewich at or at 419-346-4155. 

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