US Pot shops could pop up in new places in Detroit

16:41  17 july  2017
16:41  17 july  2017 Source:   USA TODAY SPORTS

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The rules were put in place under a set of controversial ordinances approved by the council last year to combat a proliferation of the so-called pot shops that have been sprouting up throughout The new ordinance will be enforced by the Detroit police and building and safety departments after March 31.

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A medical marijuana samples at 420 Dank in Detroit in September 2015.© Salwan Georges, Detroit Free Press A medical marijuana samples at 420 Dank in Detroit in September 2015.

DETROIT — An initiative to amend Detroit's medical marijuana ordinance to allow dispensaries to operate near liquor stores, child-care centers and parks could appear on the November ballot, after a group behind the effort submitted thousands of signatures backing the measure.

Citizens for Sensible Cannabis spokesman Jonathan Barlow confirmed his group submitted petitions late last month seeking to amend Chapter 24 of the city's code.

Elections Director Daniel Baxter said the group met the threshold of required signatures and his department has since turned the initiative over to the Detroit City Council, which is expected to consider it Tuesday.

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The council also is expected to receive an update on the city's medical marijuana efforts, according to its Tuesday meeting agenda. Baxter said the council has to consider the initiative before it's placed on the ballot because "it is part of the initiative petition process."

"It's now in their hands," Baxter said. "If they choose not to act on it, it goes back to the Election Commission to determine whether it meets all the legal requirements, and if it does, it goes on the ballot for November."

Baxter said council members have 60 days to act on the initiative and they also have the right to choose to reject it or place something on the ballot themselves.

The effort to amend the ordinance comes a year after it took effect March 1, 2016.

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit has a new set of medical marijuana laws that officially went into effect on Thursday that requires owners of dispensaries to The new laws were put into place after months of back-and-forth and is requiring the proprieters of pot shops to have a license to sell. Up Next

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According to a copy of the petition, the amendments would also allow dispensaries to be located closer to churches and to each other, and would give dispensaries an additional hour to operate. Currently they must close at 8 p.m.; new rules would allow them to close at 9 p.m.

Richard Clement, top aide to Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr., said an array of individuals are backing the measure, including former dispensary owners who were shut down, owners in the process of getting closed and those who are planning to reopen in the city.

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.

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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.

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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 hasn’t been any proof or display of proof that shows it's not working properly," Tate said. "Any time you try to limit conversation about what’s happening in people’s neighborhoods, that’s never good and I’m never going to be in favor of that. Based on what I’m 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.

"You would have four or five in one corner," Tate recalled. "... There’s nothing we have in the city of Detroit that’s that over-saturated or overpopulated whether it’s 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. It’s 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 can’t 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 can’t have a pharmacy that’s like CVS and then tell everybody else their pharmacy can’t be there."

Detroit at crossroads 50 years after riots devastated city .
Deborah Chenault Green is 62, a writer. But 50 years ago she was a pre-teen, sleeping on the porch to escape the oppressive heat, awakening to see a sky that glowed unnaturally.Azerine Jones is a retired baker. Azerine Jones is a retired baker. But in 1967 she was the 12-year-old daughter of a barber who watched his business go up in smoke.

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