June 11, 2018, Detroit
In coming days, Detroit may change its cannabis laws. Chris Tate, a city councilmember, has presented a bill in Detroit city council that will increase the authority of local administration in regulating cannabis business. In simple words, the city government will have a more say on the issues of marijuana growing, processing, testing, manufacturing, and distribution.
The law also proposes to limit the number of MMJ dispensaries in the city to 75. While talking to local media, Tate termed the proposed ordinance the convergence of city administration and marijuana patients’ interests.
Regarding putting a cap on the number of MMJ dispensaries, Tate is of the belief that it is important to be dutiful to neighborhoods while serving MMJ patients and limiting their number is an effort to achieve a balance between these two.
Cannabis advocates are wary of these provisions. They think that it would put a stop on cannabis activities that are just taking off. The legal counsel of marijuana dispensaries in the city, Amir Makled, has criticized the decision. He says that no homework has been done before setting the arbitrary cap of 75. Makled thinks that such decisions without necessary deliberations can impede the growth of legal marijuana economy in the city.
Makled also believes that the ordinance is in complete violation of the voters’ will, which approved MMJ program in Michigan. It is comprehensible that the city administration wants to keep a check on the number of dispensaries. However, this should be done after extensive assessment and research.
Cannabis Industry Might Resolve Detroit’s Economic Woes
It is not a secret anymore that Detroit has been facing a constant economic decline for years. No new industrial growth can be witnessed in the city, which has led to high unemployment rates. Amid all this, curtailment of a promising industry is incomprehensible to experts.
Makled thinks that by welcoming a completely new industry with all its potential, the city can recuperate its economic stability. It is important to note that like any other sector cannabis industry doesn’t work in a vacuum. Its various divisions need assistance and services from other quarters and that can put together the entire industrial landscape in a better place. Meanwhile, an entirely new tax base can be developed with a thriving cannabis industry.
Zoning Restrictions and Requirements Will be Sorted
Detroit’s medical cannabis program has also been in a fix due to the confusion surrounding zoning restrictions and requirements. At the end of last year, voters approved two proposals. These proposals allowed the establishment of MMJ stores within 500 feet of each other and in the vicinity of establishments such as rehabilitation centers, child care facilities etc. Moreover, they allowed the establishment of MMJ stores in industrial districts as well.
These MMJ regulations were overturned by a County Circuit at the beginning of this year, deeming them misguided. The legal representative of Detroit Corporation, Lawrence Garcia, says that the proposed ordinance will fix zoning issues of the original legislation and it would help in streamlining MMJ program of the city.