DETROIT (FOX 2) - Detroit Police Chief James Craig says since the state voted to legalize marijuana, the Motor City has seen an increase in violent crime because of black market marijuana sales.
Craig discussed violent crimes on Wednesday, saying that, even though Michigan legalized marijuana, more people are becoming victims because the black market for weed is 'thriving'.
"Violence. We're talking about buyers and sellers - both armed," Craig said.
Marijuana is more expensive at government licensed dispensaries because of the taxes the state collects, the cost of testing, and the cost of businesses setting up brick storefronts. All of that, Craig says, is leading to a black market for marijuana in Detroit.
Craig claims buyers are offering a service known as "dial-a-dope" where the seller drives to the buyer. The chief says often the buyers and sellers in a drug transaction get into a gunfight, causing recent shootings and homicides to go up.
"We are estimating, and it's a rough estimate but pretty close, probably 60%, 60%. Our gang shootings and group shootings are down," Craig said.
That's right, the department believes shootings are up 60% because of pot.
Craig said the department has a plan to combat this but would not reveal specifics as he did not want to tip off the dealers. He said Detroit Police Officers will focus on the armed buyers and the armed sellers.
"It's not legal to sell in the black market. That's not legal. But our focus is beyond that - it's the associated violence," Craig said.
While marijuana possession up to a certain amount is legal, being convicted of a felony with a gun could get you two years in prison.