22 Fewer Dispensaries In Detroit Since March, City Aims To Close 66 Soon

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Detroit’s promised marijuana dispensary crackdown seems to be underway, with 22 shops closed since the first of the month.

CBS Detroit is reporting that city officials want to see 66 closed in the near-term that the city says are operating in drug-free school zones. The city is filing 5-6 suits per week as almost all of Detroit’s pot shops are currently operating in violation of a recently passed ordinance that not only requires a special business license for medical marijuana dispensaries, but also prohibits the shops from operating within 1,000 feet of churches, parks and schools and parks. The license requires background checks, to comply with state law, and not have a drive-through.

There is the ability to apply for a variance, and nearly 200 have applied for licensing.


This map from the city Detroit shows all of the areas a dispensary can not operate without a variance. For a fully searchable address list of allowable parcels, click here. Being that almost the entire city is off-limits, it in practice means that the city government can pick and choose where dispensaries go on a case-by-case basis.

There’s some controversy around the program because there’s no “grandfather clause,” where the city would allow shops to remain open while the new licensing process is underway. Medically prescribed marijuana is legal in Michigan thanks to the 2008 Michigan Medical Marijuana act. That act covers caretakers providing care to up to five patients; but nothing speaks to retail sales. Marijuana also remains illegal on the federal level.

According to a previous Crain’s report, city corporation counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell estimates that the number of dispensaries in the city will go down to 50 or so.

There are very few dispensaries in the suburbs.

Mayor Mike Duggan, a former prosecutor, has been on the record as not friendly toward marijuana dispensaries. He praised city councilman James Tate for his efforts on the ordinance, saying in his State of the City address earlier this year that he is “the man responsible for the fact that we’re finally going to start shutting down marijuana dispensaries in the city of Detroit.”

  • WTG, Duggan. Don’t you know to the young people you’re so hard trying to attract don’t want laws against this? Spend time on something more important like real criminals. Wait, how many kids got shot this year? And you have the cities top lawyer sending multiple lawsuits every week about this?

  • These ordinances, laws, should apply to Walgreen’s, CVS, etc. The drugs they sell are deadly and kill people every day.

  • Mayor Duggan has misled the Detroit City council and the City’s residents.

    Me? I’ve read accounts of entrapment, coercion, and departmental greed, under color of antiquated, unconstitutional State forfeiture laws. An MSP crime lab instructed to report samples as being ‘of unknown origin’ rather than herbal marijuana, thereby bumping alleged ‘crimes’ up from misdemeanors to felonies. Policing for profit, a pose of being ‘tough on crime’, instead of pursuing real crimes against real victims. And don’t look to the Attorney General for relief; he wants to run for Governor under these same dark flags.

    No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous, like pharmaceutical drugs. In truth it’s a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.

    I favor the MILegalize petition. Please visit its website and contribute to its campaign fund.

    Michigan is a Right to Farm State. If your land is suitable and you raise crops according to State standards, you may compete in the State’s open market. One cannot patent a species of plant, only hybrids which one has developed. Limiting growers to corporate farms will reduce the number of strains available, and likely ensure that what is produced will be pesticide-rich. I’d say legalize marijuana but don’t corporatize it. Never interfere with patients’ rights to grow their own.

    And tell the police to take a hike. They are addicted to profiting from Michigan’s antiquated, unconstitutional forfeiture law. Their reps have repeatedly hijacked lawmakers’ votes to fine-tune the MMMA, by showing up ‘en masse’ and playing ‘tough cop’ in legislators’ offices just before a vote.

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” –John Erlichman

    Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that, in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

    In 2012, a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party ten days ago. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. Legalization should improve those numbers further.

    No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s the most benign ‘substance’ in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

    Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Research in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries has discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

    Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’

    Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. “Cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants,
    which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

    The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. But Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

    Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

    I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.

  • It is absolutely amazing the amount of attention the City is giving to marijuana. The City Council and the Mayor love nothing more than to deflect attention from real problems. Everything, EVERYTHING Duggan is doing is to look good for his re-election campaign and, down the line, for his campaign for statewide office. There is never enough money for police to crack down on the rampant car thefts, B & Es, assaults, etc but we somehow have enough resources to persecute the dispensaries, kids playing basketball in the streets, etc. For dispensaries to be more heavily regulated than bars and liquor stores doesn’t pass the laugh test, but facts never seem to get in the way of convenient political posturing. I would love the blowhards on the City Council to come up here to Six Mile and spend a night on the corner by the local liquor store. After a night ducking flying cognac and Wild Irish bottles, stepping over fast food containers, condoms and needles, and dodging the stray bullet or two, they might actually realize that medical marijuana dispensaries are a non-issue. But we can’t expect that our fearless leaders will ever leave their little bubble, or stray outside of their comfort zone, can we? So let’s continue to spend money shutting down those evil dispensaries.

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