The Problem With Medical Marijuana In Detroit With the State of Michigan on the verge of handing out its first licenses for medical cannabis one of
The Problem With Medical Marijuana In Detroit
With the State of Michigan on the verge of handing out its first licenses for medical cannabis one of the leading potential participants could get sidelined from the profitable business.
The City of Detroit, which, at one point, had over 250 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city, is caught in a legal battle with the very voters who want medical cannabis in the first place.
At stake is a portion of what’s believed to be a $711 million business that could exceed a billion if the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use gets on the November ballot and is approved by voters.
Medical Marijuana In Detroit: Legislation
Detroit was in the process of drafting an ordinance last year which will have limited the variety of marijuana businesses and enacted strict guidelines on the place those businesses could be located as well as just how they’d get approval from the city. As a component of that effort, the city shuttered many Detroit despensaries, leaving only about 70 operating under emergency rules.
The effort was upended when voters, by a 60 40 % margin, passed 2 ordinances in November that were targeted toward opening up the market to more businesses and a much broader swath of the city.
The vote put no less than a temporary end to Detroit’s efforts to draft an ordinance and instead sparked a legal fight by the city and medical marijuana advocates over the legality of voter-approved ordinances. The newest development in that fight was a ruling last month by Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr., who sided with the city and also ruled that voters cannot change city ordinances. He overturned virtually all of what voters had approved.
Marijuana advocates, nonetheless, are feeling dismissed by the city.
Joe White, a board member of NORML, a nonprofit that advocates for marijuana legalization, said he is concerned that Detroit’s efforts to overturn the initiatives could make voters feel disenfranchised.
“I’ve spoken with many young people,” White said. “They said if I vote, it doesn’t count. I think we have a lot of soul searching to do in Detroit. To look at cannabis as some evil boogeyman that’s going to come in and turn kids into zombies, I think that story’s been overdone. When we look at the evidence, we’re really confused as to why the city is taking such a hard stance on something that could benefit the community.”
Advocacy groups plan to appeal. If the city does not have an ordinance in place soon, the dispensaries open now will have to shut down or perhaps face the danger that the state will refer the businesses to law enforcement to shut them down as illegally operating without a license.
At last count, 331 individuals or businesses have submitted applications for licenses from the state, but only 112 of those applications include approval from the communities where they want to operate. None are in Detroit.
What does the future old for cannabis in Detroit? It appears they have some ironing out to do. Hopefully, voters and advocacy groups will keep the heat on and make the voice of the people be heard.