Michigan could climb up the adult-use cannabis ladder if Detroit revisits licensing process


The Detroit City Council is preparing to revamp its recreational cannabis licensing system with new procedures for regulatory oversight. 

Council members have announced their plans to revisit the licensing process after a U.S. district judge ruled in last year that a formerly endorsed residency rule was “likely unconstitutional.”

Should Detroit’s restructuring plan go well, the State of Michigan could further reap the rewards of its cannabis industry.

In December of last year, the state shifted more than $135 million in adult-use purchases and approximately $33 million in medical cannabis purchases.

What does Detroit’s new cannabis proposal suggest?

Prior to the announcement of Detroit City Council’s recreational cannabis licensing update, the sector’s rollout across the metropolis has been somewhat delayed — mainly due to the fact that entrepreneurs have struggled to find a clear path for licensing.

Fortunately for the entrepreneurs who have been left waiting in limbo, City Council President Pro Tem James Tate has prepared a new ordinance for recreational cannabis business licensing. What’s more, the mayor supports it.

Tate’s new proposal stipulates that Detroit residents should be offered secure entry to the permit process. However, out-of-town applicants would also be given a chance to apply.

In 2021, residency rules pertaining to cannabis ownership in Detroit Michigan’s largest metropolitan area proved to be a major burden. So much so, that the harsh guidelines triggered a lawsuit, which is expected to proceed to trial in September.

This makes Tate’s updated ordinance all the more promising, since it would allow up to 76 recreational cannabis stores to open their doors within the city limits, in addition to 30 social cannabis consumption lounges and micro-businesses. No cap would be imposed on the number of allowed permits for cannabis growers, transporters, processors and event coordinators.

Meanwhile in Michigan…

In separate news, a Michigan testing lab has been, to some degree, triumphant in a court case that saw a state judge bash regulators for wrongly executing an extensive cannabis product recall last November.

The product recall was carried out by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), which is tasked with regulating the state’s recreational cannabis establishments and licensees in accordance with the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA).

Notwithstanding the outcome of the court case, Judge Thomas Cameron of the Michigan Court of Claims clarified that authorities did not breach state law.

According to an opinion written by Judge Cameron, the recall of products of which were tested at Viridis Laboratories’ operation in Bay City was conducted with “arbitrary and without basis.”

The judge went on to say that the recall could be considered a “substantive due process violation.” 

“The threat of irreparable harm to the reputation of the Bay City facility arising out of the recall remains and has largely been left unrebutted,” wrote Judge Cameron.

“Here, the MRA identified testing discrepancies that implicated safety concerns. That the wisdom of such a recall is or could be debatable is not enough to survive rational-basis review or to establish an equal-protection claim,” explained the judge.

The MRA has since been instructed to halt any further actions relating to the recall. However, the case is not over, with a Viridis news release indicating that the testing lab is fighting against the recall.