Weed business applications in Detroit • Armed security at Anchor Bay schools • Nessel won't debate DePerno

Another milestone in Detroit's path toward opening the city up to recreational marijuana commerce is here with the process for applying for a business license in the city opening Thursday morning.

A total of 60 business licenses including 40 for retail businesses and dispensaries will be approved during the first phase of applications. 

Detroit's recreational marijuana ordinance was approved in April. However, delays in opening the application process happened after companies that own two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city sued for being excluded from the application process.

A judge motioned for removing the injunction blocking the application process from opening on Tuesday. 

"The medical marijuana operation in the city has overwhelmingly been controlled by wealthy folks who don't live in the city of Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "Detroiters have not benefitted from the marijuana business and Councilman Tate from the beginning said we want to have retail sales of recreational marijuana in the city, but not if it means Detroiters are going to be excluded." 

Councilman Joe Tate has overseen the creation of Detroit's equity-based approach for giving out licenses that gives preferential treatment to legacy residents interested in running a business in the city. 

Despite the state approving recreational marijuana consumption and sales in 2018, Detroit has declined to allow companies to setup shop without first giving residents a chance at a cut of the pie. 

It's not a shrinking pie either. The state estimates the $3 billion in revenue will come from pot sales by 2024 - one of the largest totals in the country.

A total of 160 licenses will be approved over three phases. Sixty licenses will be approved during the first phase, which goes until Oct. 1. It will include:

  • 40 Retail: Allows a business to sell marijuana and related products from licensed growers and processors to adult consumers for recreational purposes
  • 10 Micro-Business: Allows a small business to vertically integrate by growing and processing up to 150 plants and selling the resulting products to adult consumers for recreational purposes
  • 10 Consumption Lounge: Allows a commercial location to host adults to consume marijuana products

Each category will include equal numbers of licenses for social equity candidates and general business candidates. 

To qualify as a social equity applicant under the law, an applicant must be a qualified resident of Detroit or another community determined to be disproportionately impacted by the historical prohibition on marijuana. A business that is at least 51% owned by such a person can also qualify as a social equity applicant.

Find the application process here

Anchor Bay schools votes to bring in armed private security

The Anchor Bay school district has greenlit more security - the plan allows for five guards right now with plans to expand to eight. Three of the guards are retired or former police officers, one is a current military police officer, and another is a retired Detroit Fire captain with experience in school and corporate security.

Stefanie Rieden is breathing a bit easier after the Anchor Bay school board voted to bring in private security. "It's a start, you have to start somewhere," said Rieden, a parent. "And as easy as these schools are to get into, having somebody on-site who could possibly stop it, sooner than our police department - it would be great."

The board approved a three-year contract worth nearly a quarter-million dollars a year with The Fortis Group to provide armed security guards at its schools in addition to its three school resource officers, and four unarmed security guards. The superintendent said the district will also add more surveillance equipment and alert systems if a November bond proposal is approved.

The mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the shooting at Oxford High School right here in southeast Michigan, factored heavily in the district’s efforts to beef up security.

Read more about the district here

More than $1 million seized at Blue Water Bridge after man fails to disclose cash

More than $1 million was seized from a man at the Blue Water Bridge last week after he didn't tell Customs and Border Patrol about the cash.

According to CBP, the man, who is a United States citizen, was traveling into Port Huron with his family after being denied entry into Canada on Aug. 22. He first denied having more than $10,000, but changed that number to $990,000.

Agents found $1,096,584 in two safes during an inspection. "There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export as long as it is accurately declared to CBP," said acting Port Director Geoffrey Stoffel.

Travelers must declare when they transport more than $10,000 in monetary instruments when traveling in or out of the U.S.

Read the full story here

Dana Nessel won't debate Matt DePerno

It doesn't look like Michigan's acrimonious election cycle in the race for attorney general will get any nicer after the Democratic incumbent said she would not debate her Republican challenger. Dana Nessel said she declined offers to debate Matt DePerno in part because her office referred a case against the candidate over election tabulator mishandling.

Nessel said she couldn't comment on the case and it would likely be a subject during the debate, saying "I am obligated to refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused, or which may materially prejudice an adjudicative proceeding."

She also said she wouldn't engage with DePerno because he "has a propensity to engage in name-calling, and in utilizing racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and misogynistic rhetoric and imagery."

DePerno responded later Wednesday, saying "Drunk Dana refused to debate me because she knows that she can't defend her lackluster record of rising crime and demanding for a drag queen in every school."

Detroit University District makes due amid power outage

There are about 126,000 DTE customers still without power as of Wednesday night as crews swarm the area working to restore service. In Detroit people living in the University District have been without power since severe weather ripped through the area Monday night. One resident, Ava Aubrey, can't cook food from her freezer, so she’s giving it all to her nephew who does have electricity.

"I’ve got mostaccioli, chicken, just all unthawed so it has to be cooked now," she said. The storms left giant tree branches toppled, with some snapped like matchsticks. "The tree fell down on the roof of my sunroom, it went through the lawn chairs and destroyed those," said Jim Orlando, another resident.

And the timing of it all couldn’t be worse. "It was a bit of a trauma here going through this disaster while trying to get ready for the home tour," Orlando added. The University District Historic Home Tour is just a little over a week away and Jim Orlando’s home is one of seven featured in the tour.

"It’s just been quiet, you know," Aubrey quipped. "It’s been kind of rough but we’ve been able to make it because we do have solar power and that was working until that cut off," said Wesley Stevens. "It’s just been I think a little irritating but not aggravating if you know what I mean," said Cassandra Spratling Odetoyinbo. The mild temperatures have also helped.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Plan on temperatures hitting the mid-80s by 5 p.m. Thursday as the rest of Michigan's cool-weather week continues into the weekend. Temperatures will heat up for Labor Day, but it won't be accompanied by much action from precipitation.

What else we're watching

  1. More than 100,000 people still don't have power going into their home after storms knocked out electricity Monday. DTE says power will be restored to 80% of affected customers by the end of Thursday.
  2. Abortion remains a sticking issue in Michigan politics after the State Board of Canvassers rejected a petition that would put abortion legalization on the midterm ballot after a 2-2 partisan deadlock Wednesday. The decision is being appealed and the state Supreme Court has until Sept. 9 to decide if it should go on the ballot.
  3. The Henry Ford Museum has a new exhibit to show off: the car from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Don't miss it!
  4. The DNR is proposing changes to its list of endangered animals amid declining numbers of native eastern box turtle. A public comment period will be open for the next month for people to weigh in on the proposal.
  5. State police are investigating a road rage incident on I-96 in Detroit. Expect delays Thursday morning.

Han Solo's blaster sells for over $1M at auction

A blaster actor Harrison Ford used while playing Han Solo in "Star Wars: A New Hope" has sold for over $1 million.

In a press release Wednesday, Rock Island Auction Company said the "BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster" was purchased over the weekend for a whopping $1,057,000 but did not specify the buyer.

It is believed to be the only surviving prop blaster of the three made for "A New Hope," which was released in 1977, according to the auction house.