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Ballot Initiative To Strike Detroit's Adult-Use Ordinance Rejected, Opponents Continue To Fight

(CBS DETROIT) - A proposed initiative seeking to overturn Detroit's adult-use cannabis licensing ordinance was shot down by The Detroit Election Commission.

Although the city charter states that 2,811 signatures are needed to secure a ballot spot, 6,475 signatures are required under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

Citizens for Better Social Equity collected 4,844 signatures, more than 3,000 were deemed valid.

Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem James Tate sponsored the ordinance, giving preference to legacy Detroiters to create social equity opportunities.

"There's a different license that's required for recreational so there's no grandfathering," Tate said.

"There's no assumption that just because you have one license, that you are automatically granted the other. If you don't get awarded if you go out and you compete, and you don't get awarded in those first three rounds that we have available after five years in 2027 you'll have an opportunity to bypass the competitive process and you're guaranteed an opportunity to receive your license."

But owners of medical marijuana shops say they're not being given a fair chance to do business.

"They could have allowed a certain amount of licenses for social equity applicants and legacy Detroiters and still allowed the medical facilities to apply for adult-use licensure," said Cannabis Business Association of Michigan Executive Director Narmin Jarrous.

"They could have even said social equity applicants gets first dibs on those licenses. They can apply and then wait a year or two and then the medical shops could opt-in. But not allowing the medical shops to apply for adult-use licensure until 2027 is just, it just seems unfair.

Citizens for Better Social Equity has until the end of the month to appeal the commission's resolution.

Detroit is now accepting applications to grant recreational retail licenses for up to 40 dispensaries, 10 micro-businesses, and 10 consumption lounges.

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