Petition would let pot shops pop up near Detroit parks, child-care centers
A medical marijuana samples at 420 Dank in Detroit in September 2015.
A variety of medical marijuana edibles are on a shelf at 420 Dank in Detroit in September 2015.
Barlow declined to say who is backing the initiative but said more information on the effort is forthcoming.
Barlow said his organization†also has submitted petitions to amend Chapter 61 of the city's code to allow growers and "secure transporters" to open within the city's industrial districts. It would also allow processors, "provisioning centers" and safety compliance facilities to†be permitted in additional business and industrial districts.
But, Baxter said, the initiative to amend Chapter 61 will not appear on the ballot.
"Based upon what we've seen thus far, the one to amend Chapter 61 is not valid," Baxter said. "The state zoning and enabling act precludes local jurisdictions from rezoning through ballot initiatives, meaning you can't circulate. The only entity that has that authority is City Council."
Barlow said his organization is seeking further clarification.
Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch†Hollowell previously told the Free Press that 283 dispensaries were identified in the city last year as operating illegally.
According to the city's website, 172 shops have been shut down.
"None of them were operating lawfully," Hollowell said. "At the time, I sent a letter to each one of them indicating that unless you have a fully licensed facility, you are operating at your own risk."
Hollowell also said at the time that an additional 51 were in the pipeline to be closed. That would bring the closures up to 218 and a step closer to the goal laid out by officials to have only 50 citywide.
Hollowell declined to comment on the November initiative.
Councilman†James Tate, who†originally introduced the ordinance in 2015, said there were other things he wanted to include that were even "more strict" but he†believes what's in place right now works and has been successful.†
"There hasnít been any proof or display of proof that shows it's not working properly," Tate said. "Any time you try to limit conversation about whatís happening in peopleís neighborhoods, thatís never good and Iím never going to be in favor of that. Based on what Iím hearing, I would be in opposition and more likely be vocally in opposition."
Tate said he introduced the ordinance two years ago because he believed the city became over-saturated with dispensaries.
Medical marijuana being grown in Warren.
"You would have four or five in one corner," Tate recalled.†"... Thereís nothing we have in the†city of Detroit thatís that over-saturated or overpopulated whether itís a CVS or a McDonald's. If you look at the dispensaries, many of them are not owned by residents of the city of Detroit. Itís a multipronged issue but if someone feels like it's not the best move on their behalf, they have the right to utilize the process of law whichever way they feel is right."
Cushingberry, who was the lone no vote against the ordinance in October 2015, said he believes it deserves a second look.
"All of it may be unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Constitution and FCC as a restrain on trade because it interferes with interstate commerce," Cushingberry said.†"In addition to that, you canít treat one set of pharmacies one way and another set another way. If you're going to say that it's medicine, then people need to be able to have a pharmacy. You canít have a pharmacy thatís like CVS and then tell everybody else their pharmacy canít be there."
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