Detroit approves crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries

- If you want to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Detroit you'll now need a permit that comes with new regulations.

Detroit City Council approved an ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. There will be 1000 foot buffer zones so one dispensary cannot be within 1000 feet of another dispensary, a school, a church, a city park, a liquor store or bar. Opposing viewpoints at city hall included the possibility of children having illegal access to dropping property values near a dispensary.

“I think we had to strike a balance from those who didn’t want us to touch them at all, to those who want us to shut each and every one of them down.” said Detroit City Council member James Tate.

Some dispensaries already open will be closed because they are in violation of the buffer zone.  Police Chief James Craig briefed city council on the law enforcement strategy with respect to medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We will respond to community complaints. Sometimes we get complaints that dispensaries are operating, and it’s not for medicinal purposes,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “People are just simply going in and purchasing marijuana without a marijuana card.”

The vote was 6-1. Council member Scott Benson voted no. George Cushingberry and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez were absent. Council member Janee Ayers - one of 6 voting yes - said her neighborhoods are in favor.

“We all feel like there’s a proliferation. That’s no doubt,” said Detroit Council member Janee Ayers. “But how do you properly regulate it without anything that came from the state or otherwise?”

In Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries are still not permitted by state law but some counties and cities have agreed to allow them.  Cross over 8 Mile from Detroit into neighboring Oakland County though - Oakland does not allow any dispensaries. The date for Detroit to start with their new dispensary regulations is March 2016.

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