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Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Says Recreational Marijuana Ordinance Ensures Social Equity

(CBS DETROIT) -- A move to get Detroiters in the recreational marijuana business is sparking backlash, but Detroit Council President Pro Tem James Tate says the ordinance is meant to ensure ownership opportunities for residents.

"Currently, in the city of Detroit we have 75 medical marijuana facilities and the overwhelming majority, I'll say less than 10, according to our calculations are owned by Detroiters," Tate said.

But two lawsuits claim Detroit's recreational marijuana ordinance violates state law.

Jars Cannabis argues it blocks existing medical marijuana centers from getting recreational licenses until 2027. The House of Dank says giving preference to Detroit residents is unconstitutional.

Tate believes it's a matter of fairness. He says the war on drugs disproportionately targeted Black residents for marijuana convictions.

"That same plant that has caused so much harm in so many families in the city of Detroit is now being allowed to create generational wealth for others," he said.

Tate says the ordinance he wrote is meant to provide a level playing field.

"Right now, it is completely uneven in terms of the resources available as well as the way that the market operates," he said.

Adult-use marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2019.

The new ordinance will allow 40 dispensaries, 10 micro-businesses and 10 consumption lounges. Applications open on Aug. 1.

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