“With the state law and these ballot initiatives, we’re talking about changing the entire game. There’s a lot that’s still in play, nothing is set in stone,” said Detroit City Councilman James Tate, who introduced the ordinance that closed most of the city’s dispensaries last year and opposes the new ballot measures.
“It’s not unexpected to have hiccups with an industry that has the ability to produce an immense amount of dollars for businesses, for municipalities, but also the potential for being nuisance for residents.”
The Detroit vote likely will pit morality versus medical marijuana. The city’s churches were critical in arguing for the 2015 ordinance that prohibited pot shops from locating within 1,000 feet of churches, schools, libraries, parks, liquor stores and other pot shops in Detroit, leading to the mass closures.
Detroit World Outreach Church, an influential megachurch, is launching an effort against the ballot measure. A representative at the church declined comment, but other pastors say Detroit doesn’t need more drugs.
“I’m opposed,” said the Rev. Darren Penson, pastor of Greater Quinn African Methodist Episcopal Church on the city’s west side. “We already have enough issues as it is. This will further oppress our people, lead to more drug addiction.”
Hazy state rules
Amid the debate in Detroit, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Sept. 12 dropped a bomb on medical marijuana businesses, announcing that any dispensary that wants to apply for one of five new types of licenses to be issued next year should shut down by Dec. 15 or face a “potential impediment” to getting a license.
Approved last year, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act will grant