Local officials are beginning to decide if they want medical marijuana businesses in their communities before the state starts giving out licenses next year. Wochit
The Reef, a medical marijuana dispensary in Detroit, offers about 60 different strains in September 2017.(Photo: Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo
With the State of Michigan on the verge of handing out its first licenses for medical marijuana businesses later this month, one of the biggest potential participants could get sidelined from the lucrative business.
The City of Detroit, which, at one point, had more than 250 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city, is caught in a legal morass, battling the people — and the voters — who had hoped to open up the city for an exciting, if somewhat controversial, new industry.
At stake is a piece of what is estimated to be a $711-million business that could exceed $1 billion if the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use gets on the November ballot and is approved by voters.
Paula Givens, an attorney who is a consultant for medical marijuana businesses, said she’s advising her clients to steer clear of Detroit, at least for the time being.
“Ever since the medical marijuana law was passed, I’ve told prospective business owners to stay away from Detroit,” she said, because of a fear the city wouldn’t be able to come to a consensus on how it wants to regulate the industry.
With a likely migration of medical marijuana clients to the suburbs, there will be losses of both jobs and economic development in Detroit, she said.
“There will be substantial excise, sales and income tax and jobs that will be lost,” Givens said. “And it