Detroit Crafting Proposed Regulations on Dispensaries

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Detroit officials are finalizing a draft of proposed regulations on the city’s dispensaries, which continue to pop up like dandelions even though they are technically illegal under state law.

Councilman James Tate said he’s putting final touches on an ordinance to govern the city’s growing number of unregulated dispensaries amid concerns that the businesses are fostering violence and engaging in unscrupulous activities.

Proposed regulations in an early draft would require dispensaries to become licensed by the city and locate at least 2,000 feet away from a school, daycare, city recreation center, library or museum. They would also have to be at least 1,000 feet from other dispensaries.

No one is sure how many dispensaries are within city limits, but there could be well over 100 by some estimates. The concentration of dispensaries in Detroit is so high that some blocks have as many as three within a few feet of one another.

The Michigan Marihuana Act allows people carrying state registry cards to use medical marijuana, but the state never established regulations allowing for dispensaries and other MMJ businesses. Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that dispensaries are illegal, but some cities have taken a lenient approach or established their own laws regulating the businesses.

In Detroit, dispensaries have been the focus of unwelcome news recently. Police arrested two people and seized drugs and guns in July after a raid at Detroit Medz. Shots were fired last month outside another dispensary, King of Budz, while a councilman called such businesses in his district “glorified weed spots.”