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Detroit Could Extend Recreational Marijuana Ban Through Next Year

When Detroit City Councilmember James Tate led the push to temporarily ban recreational marijuana sales in the city last year, he said he wanted to ensure marijuana legalization would benefit the people who’d been hurt by prohibition. Detroit’s majority-Black residents have historically been dealt harsher punishments for marijuana crimes than their white suburban counterparts, and he promised a business licensing structure that would give them an edge in the new industry.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he told Metro Times in November.

Eight months later, Tate may only be at the halfway point. With the ban set to expire late this month, last Thursday he announced plans to request a six-month extension, citing ongoing efforts on a social equity component.

An attorney representing some of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries said she was frustrated by the plan to prolong the ban through next year. Denise Policella warned it could put her clients out of business as consumers turn to competing pot shops in suburbs that allow recreational sales.

But the latest delay has invited some competition: Former State Sen. Virgil Smith says he’s begun gathering signatures in an effort to put the issue before city voters in November, with a proposal that includes some of the equity components Tate envisions. [Read more at Deadline Detroit]

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