How To Get Licensed Successfully in Detroit For A Cannabis Business

Apr 14, 2021 | Cannabis Laws & News, Small Cannabis Business

After years of questions, confusion, and legal battles, getting licensed to sell cannabis in Detroit is finally open for business. But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t complexities to sort through to become approved.

To understand the process it takes to receive a Detroit cannabis license, and the Detroit legacy program, we’ve simplified the most pertinent info you need to know below.

Keep reading to learn how to become licensed successfully in Detroit, for a cannabis business.

The history of weed in Detroit

The legalization of marijuana is nothing new for Detroit residents. In fact, medical marijuana was legalized all the way back in 2008. After this vote, dispensaries began popping up on almost every street in the city. Over time, nearly 300 had opened their doors. What happened?

The city began cracking down, not taking the use of medical marijuana as seriously as it should. Many restrictions were passed, and so many dispensaries were raided for ‘illegal’ activities, that in just 18 months nearly 90% of the thriving dispensaries were forced to shut their doors.

Now, with statewide recreational legalization and robust tax money to be made – the city is changing its tune. Voted upon last October, finally, recreational adult-use establishments are able to apply for licensing within city limits.

Even better, the city is giving back to the residents who have endured so many wrongs over the years with a unique incentive program.

What is the Legacy program?

Those unique incentives come with what’s known as the Detroit Legacy certification. That’s right, the ordinance to open Detroit cannabis license applications came with a stipulation that benefits long-term ‘legacy’ residents. Requiring that 50% of licenses in any category must be given to legacy Detroiters. Making a 1-for-1 ratio of out-of-towners to locals.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the program:

Five Key Principles

  • Detroit Legacy applicants will get a minimum of 50% of all newly created recreational marijuana business licenses issued in Detroit.
  • No license will be issued to any recreational business if it reduces the number of licenses issued to Detroit Legacy applicants below 50%.
  • There will be a six-week exclusive early licensing period for Detroit Legacy applicants.
  • Detroit Legacy applicants will be able to purchase city-owned land at 25% of fair market value.
  • The City will work with philanthropy and private lenders to develop sources of funding and expertise to back Detroit-owned marijuana business start-ups.

Program Benefits

  • 75% off selected city-owned land
  • Almost a 99% discount on application fees
  • Technical and financial assistance

Detroit Legacy Certification Qualifications

To receive your Detroit Legacy certification, you’ll need to qualify with one of the following:

  • Lived in Detroit for 15 of the last 30 years, or
  • Lived in Detroit for 13 of the last 30 years and are low income, or
  • Lived in Detroit for 10 of the last 30 years and have a marijuana conviction or have a parent with a marijuana conviction.

Application Fees
To qualify as a legacy Detroiter, there’s a non-refundable $100 application fee.

Types of Available Licenses

  • 75 Medical Dispensaries
  • 75 Adult-Use Retail Storefronts
  • 35 Consumption Lounges
  • 35 Microbusinesses
  • Unlimited number of Grower, Processor, Safety Compliance, Secure Transporter and Event licenses

All about zoning

Such progressive programs don’t come without some restrictions of their own. The city outlined specific zoning areas per license type, to ensure safe practices all around.

As you set out to paint the city green, you’ll want to be aware of the exact zones and lines you can stay within. Each license type has a designated zoning area, where they can legally operate. You’ll still have to request Special Land Use approval, through a separate process.

To access the map, and all the steps you’ll need to follow, visit the well-organized resources below:

Applying 101

With so much paperwork, steps to follow, and proverbial hoops to jump through – don’t give up getting confused over what to fill out, or how. We’ve simplified all the application steps below:

  • Everyone applying for a license in Detroit will need to also by applying through the State. For the Detroit Legacy application, you’ll apply through the social equity program first, which is $0 versus the regularly $6,000 licensing fee.
  • Then, you’ll submit your Detroit legacy application and state application, for approval. These steps can be done simultaneously to save yourself a headache and double the work.
  • Lastly, is your city Marijuana business application. That comes along with the following fees:
    • Application fee: $1000 ($10 for Detroit Legacy)

If you’re an existing medical marijuana license holder, keep in mind your steps to city licensing success will look a little different. For your city licensing, be sure to have:

  • Detailed business plans
  • Three years of income tax returns
  • Authorizations for background checks
  • Property tax clearances and clearances of any blight
  • An address for the business

Or, if you’re a general applicant vs a Detroit Legacy applicant, here’s the steps to follow that won’t include the Social Equity or Legacy applications.

The D goes green

Now that you have everything you need to complete the Detroit cannabis license application from start to finish – what are you waiting for?

If you qualify for the Detroit legacy certification or are interested in being a part of the city’s blazing revival, then now is the time.

Go to the G3 Hub below and get a FREE checklist to help you start your investment towards the city and the plant you love. And soon, you can both revel in mutual growth and success.

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Courtney Trzos</a>

Courtney Trzos

To Courtney, it’s always 420 somewhere… After attending Michigan State University and working in communications for over 10 years, she took her passion for cannabis, professionally. In 2017, Courtney began freelancing as a writer for cannabis brands across the globe, promoting the therapeutic and recreational use of the plant, while helping her partner cultivate crops full-time, and learning more about the industry from a seed-to-sale perspective. Get in touch with her and follow her journey at