Detroit Dispensaries Have a New Adversary: Local Churches

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Medical cannabis dispensaries in the Detroit area have a new foe: vocal Christian pastors who don’t like marijuana businesses.

A group of pastors held an anti-dispensary rally in Detroit earlier this week in advance of a city council meeting on Thursday that’s intended to finalize a zoning ordinance for MMJ businesses.

The pastors are upset with the proliferation of dispensaries across the city.

No hard numbers are available, as Michigan hasn’t adopted statewide medical cannabis regulations – so the state’s government isn’t tracking how many dispensaries exist. But a report released in October estimated there were roughly 150 dispensaries in Detroit at that time, and new ones continue to pop up.

“We’re saying no more,” said one pastor who’s unhappy that there are two dispensaries on the same block as his church.

The Detroit Coalition of Concerned Pastors was founded recently with the aim of getting the city council to shutter every dispensary in the city.

If the group can’t persuade councilors to approve a ban, they have a backup plan: The pastors want the council to approve Ordinance 61, which would severely restrict dispensary operations in the city.

That would be a blow to the industry. Cannabis activist Rick Thompson wrote in October that Ordinance 61 contains a number of “illegal and unfair provisions.”