With the state of Michigan planning to grant licenses for medical marijuana business, a potent
player could be missing out the benefits from the profitable venture. The City of Detroit, though
at a time had been home to 250 medical marijuana dispensaries, is currently going through a
legal tussle with tension prevailing between the city council and its people.
Earlier in the year, an ordinance had been in plan that would limit the number of marijuana
businesses in the city and dictate severe rules and guidelines on the location and on approval of
these business centers within the city.
One of the councilmen who played a key role in drafting the ordinance had expressed concern
for the relatively new industry and stressed on the enactment of proper regulatory laws
regarding zoning, spacing and administrative issues. The aftermath had led to shutting down of
several ventures with only a few being able to operate under emergency rules enacted by the
The plans were halted at least for the time being, with voters passing two ordinances in
November winning a majority of almost 60 percent that approved of opening of the market to
more marijuana dispensaries tapping the potential of the newly growing industry. This led to a
heated rift between the city and its voters who were advocating for medical marijuana
They believe it would be lucrative to other economic developments allowing for more jobs and
drawing more people and business activity into the city.
However, much to the chagrin of the voters, the ruling by Wayne County Circuit with Judge
Robert Colombo Jr. had declared that voter’s initiative can’t alter the city’s ordinance and sided
with the council’s decision. The court’s verdict had left the city residents completely
disheartened with many feeling that their pleas have been completely ignored.
Non-profit marijuana advocates and other groups behind the voters’ ordinance are making an
appeal to the court for a revision of the ruling. With this status quo where there is no clarity
regarding the ordinance and the new regulations. Attorney Michael Stein, who represents
marijuana dispensary owners, says that the city has made it extremely difficult for the
remaining ventures to get the approval before the deadline of June 15, which at its expiry, may
lead the businesses to be deemed illegal and be forced shutdown.
This legal quagmire may continue for a period of time and as concerns grow, may negatively
impact the economy of Detroit with prospectors moving toward the suburb region for lucrative
With neighboring suburbs more than eager to draw them, they have already begun drafting
licenses for medical marijuana business ventures. This may put further strain on the already
disputed case of Detroit City pushing the remaining dispensaries to a stiff competition.
The city voters, who hoped the blooming business would bring activity to their obsolete
neighborhood, are left in the lurch and strongly feel that in a democratic setup, the government
needs to pay heed to its citizens’ voices.