Detroit City Council wants regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries

A new push to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries is on by one Detroit councilman.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are unregulated in the city of Detroit - and one city councilman wants to change that.

The drug is legal for medicinal purposes but buying it can be tricky for patients because of holes in the law. 

One of the challenges for the Detroit City Council this term will be regulating medical marijuana dispensaries.

"There's no database but there have been estimates, I've heard of, as high as 180," said Detroit councilman James Tate.

An estimated 180 dispensaries in Detroit without regulations.

"I am not against medicinal marijuana locations," Tate said. "What I am against is arbitrarily opening up a business without following the laws we have in place."

Some advocates say that too much regulation could put some dispensaries out of business. 

But residents might take issue with the locations of the dispensaries, say for instance next to a day care center or school.

Attorney Thomas Lavigne says they shouldn't worry.

"These are patients," he said. "It's not like a violent context. These are patients accessing their medicine. It shouldn't be treated that differently than a pharmacy really."

"We need to drop the whole negative, violent connotations. They don't exist."

Besides regulating the number of dispensaries and where they can be located within the city - there are other proposals on the table. 

"We also want to make sure we have some testing for the medical marijuana that's in place," Tate said. "You don't want to have some of the negative stuff, the mold, the bacteria and some of the dangerous chemicals that can be in the marijuana found on the streets."

Tate said the issue will be on the city council agenda going forward.

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