Virtual event

Home Grown Detroit virtual event helps residents navigate cannabis law

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In the local marijuana industry, it is estimated that there are over 25-50 micro and medium-sized licensed grow facilities in Detroit and more are online.

The City of Detroit is moving forward in its next step toward adult-use marijuana business licenses in the limited licensing categories with more application rounds opening up in the coming months — and fairness is a huge element for everyone get a fair share of the pie.

The city opened applications for the first phase of recreational marijuana licenses over the summer.

Locally, the Detroit City Council in November 2020 unanimously voted yes for an ordinance that allows recreational marijuana sales by adults. The ordinance-related social equity components will also produce favorable outcomes for Detroit residents interested in entering this high-return industry.

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp became federally legal, making all hemp-derived products (like CBD oil) legal in the country. States can also designate their laws, and in late 2018 Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana. In Michiganonly adults over the age of 21 can legally consume cannabis.

  • The first phase of applications for limited license types was open between September 1 and October 1
  • Half of the licenses will be issued to social equity applicants

The City of Detroit plans to issue 160 licenses in three application phases, with the first 60 licenses being awarded in the first phase. Applications will be available online at www.homegrowndetroit.org.

During the first phase, 60 licenses will be awarded, including:

  • 40 Retail: allows a business to sell marijuana and related products from licensed growers and processors to adult consumers for recreational purposes
  • 10 Micro-Enterprise: Allows a small business to vertically integrate by growing and processing up to 150 plants and selling the resulting products to adult consumers for recreational purposes.
  • 10 Consuming Lounge: Allows a commercial location to house adults to consume marijuana products

“I am grateful for the most recent court ruling that allows the city to begin accepting license applications in our limited adult use categories,” said City Council Chairman Pro-Tem James Tate. . “Getting to this point has been an overly long process that dates back to 2020, when the first ordinance was unanimously approved by the Detroit City Council. Now, with the lawsuits and failed ballot initiatives to overturn our ordinance behind us, Detroit residents and other equity contenders will have a fair opportunity to compete for adult use licenses in a city that invites all to participate in the multi-million dollar adult. -using the cannabis industry,” Tate added.

Navigating cannabis legislation and social equity components for Detroiters can be a matrix where some get lost in regulations and requirements and wonder what’s next for their own cannabis establishment down the road.

Homegrown Detroit recently hosted a virtual informational event in mid-October to help attendees review licensing processes and answer questions while providing an enabling environment for potential applicants, owners and current licensees to connect and network.

Homegrown Detroit is committed to improving the lives of Detroit residents through the start-up and sustainability of marijuana and entrepreneurial businesses. Their goal is to ensure that the citizens of Detroit have access to essential tools and resources to prepare them to operate safely and successfully in the cannabis industry.

Since voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana in Detroit three years ago, Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration has worked closely with Council Chairman Pro-Tem James Tate to seek fair opportunities. for Detroit residents to participate in the adult-use marijuana industry, estimated to reach $3 billion in annual revenue in Michigan by 2024.

The city’s ability to accept applications was delayed in July after two separate lawsuits were filed following city council’s approval of the amended adult marijuana licensing ordinance in April, and a judge temporarily halted the process before reversing course and upholding the city’s ordinance.

Residents are invited to join the City of Detroit’s Homegrown Detroit Program for Virtual Cannabis Classes for Entrepreneurs. These information sessions provide an opportunity to get real-time advice from industry experts and access resources and technical information on business development, zoning, licensing and the application process. .

Kimberly A. James, director of the Office of Marijuana Ventures & Entrepreneurship, said at the event that the city wants more licenses.

“That’s why we do it in three rounds,” James said. “We recognize that social equity candidates may not be ready to apply…(we) want to give to people who have assets or who get assets.”

James told the Michigan Chronicle that the current phase is for the Homegrown organization to try to do outreach and have conversations with the community in addition to regular licensing.

“We want to have tech support classes every Wednesday and things like that and try to work more with the equity applicants themselves and identify a category of people who are closer to getting a license and who may just need a few nudges,” James said.

Mitzi Ruddock, the founder of Black Cannabis Access (BCA), which helps people navigate politics towards equity in cannabis, said at the virtual event that it’s important to help break down barriers entry for Blacks and Browns and to “be able to move forward in the process” through municipalities to review their review of ordinances and change decisions that disproportionately impact these communities.

“In Michigan, the benefits don’t go directly to those for whom social equity is intended,” Ruddock said, adding that she commends Detroit for advancing what they had regarding the “laws before us.” .

“I know a lot of people are struggling with the biggest thing (being) of finding a property,” she said. “We know the city is trying to work to improve ownership and available property in zoned areas.”

Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, told the Michigan Chronicle that during a breakout session at the virtual event, attendees discussed the difficulty of finding land.

“It’s very difficult,” she said, adding that people interested in getting into the business should talk about fundraising ideas, find an investor, and “sell your dream.”

“I think a lot of what we’ve gathered today has been (about) the importance of land control and the candidates need help navigating (that),” she said. .

Schneider, who has worked in cannabis law for 14 years, said building or finding property seems to be the “missing piece” because land has to be zoned properly or there are limits on how far away you can go. a business may be located near a school or elsewhere. .

“Thinking outside the box,” she said, is key to finding non-traditional buildings that might be for sale but aren’t listed. “Be creative when looking for a property.”

For more information visit www.micia.org.

Phase two and three licenses will be awarded soon and will be split evenly between general and social equity applicants:

Stage 2

  • 30 Retail trade
  • 10 micro-enterprises
  • 10 Consumer fair

Phase 3

  • 30 Retail trade
  • 10 micro-enterprises
  • 10 Consumer fair

Visit www.homegrowndetroit.org for class schedules, how-to videos, program updates and upcoming events in fall 2022.

Editor Rasha Almulaiki contributed to this report.