Detroit shuts down 167 pot shops, dozens more anticipated

A year after Detroit's medical marijuana ordinance went into effect, city officials say it's working.

In a phone interview with FOX 2, Corporation Councilman of the City of Detroit Melvin "Butch" Hollowell says more than 150 facilities have been closed from it.

"We have shut down 167 of the facilities," he says. "Fifty one still remain to be closed down, but we have been vigilant enforcing the city council's ordinance."

The crackdown isn't easy. Hollowell says enforcement teams are on the constant lookout for facilities in violations so a padlock can go on their doors.

"Our inspection teams will knock on the door of the facility," says Hollowell. "If they are not allowed in they will kick down the door. I'll file an action in Wayne County Circuit Court to ask the court to give me an order of closure and padlocking."

Activist Winfred Blackmon says he's been working for years to get medical marijuana facilities operating illegally out of his community.

"This one right here on corner is in violation of a 1,000 foot spacing of a controlled use. A controlled use is a liquor store," he says.

Blackmon says using the law to fight these centers is what's helping to make a difference.

"It's a great ordinance, it's working," he says. "But as the law department will tell you it's not the best ordinance. It's not working as fast as we would like to see it but something is better than nothing."

As the city continues its effort to shut down these centers operating illegally in the city of Detroit,  they'll also be talking about key issues surrounding marijuana at the policy conference on Mackinac Island.

"We're keeping an eye on whether or not the legalization - not just for medical purposes of marijuana, very well may be on the ballot next year," he says. "There is an effort well underway statewide to put it on ballot next year. We don't know if it will be successful but we certainly won't be caught by surprise."