DETROIT (WWJ) – It was a pretty packed house as Detroit City Council members heard from residents speaking out for and against a proposed ordinance that would crack down on what many say is a proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
Councilwoman Janeé Ayers called it “the Gremlin effect” — saying they’re multiplying quickly and seem to be everywhere.
Detroiter Lisa Lucas received a round of applause after she stepped up to the podium to speak her mind.
“I am a current card holder — a medical marijuana card holder — and I am safe at ADA East. I’ve been buying my medications there for…a couple years now,” Lucas said.
“And I feel safe because I don’t have to go to the streets to look for medication. I don’t know what’s in the streets; I don’t know what I’m gonna be approached by,” she said. “But I go to ADA East, I get my medication, I feel safe.”
Councilman James Tate spent about a year researching and drafting a proposed ordinance that would, among other things, order that dispensaries be closed between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. It would also ban drive-thrus and limit how close pot shops can be to churches and schools.
Nancy, who lives on Detroit’s northwest side, said she supports that.
“We recently did have a shooting in one of the ones near us — there’s four of them in a one-mile strip,” she said.
Meantime, Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry, Jr., is making is known he will be presenting some not-so-friendly amendments including one that would allow pot shops to operate around the clock.
“People work all kind of shifts here,” Cushingberry told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “And if they have the need for their medicine, I don’t think — just as CVS isn’t closed — they shouldn’t be closed.”
Among other changes, Cushingberry said he wants to allow drive-thrus and add protections for dispensaries already in operation.
“And then I would hope that we would take a look at the ordinance that the people of Detroit voted 64 percent that allows people to carry two ounces or less, even if you don’t have a medical marijuana card,” he added.
Cushingberry said he and Tate have been meeting on the issue, that Tate is aware of his concerns and that all will be decided when the ordinance comes to a vote.
Tate estimates there are about 180 medical marijuana shops currently operating in Detroit.
Michigan voters approved marijuana use for some chronic medical conditions in 2008.