DETROIT (WWJ) – A packed house at the City of Detroit Planning Commission’s public hearing on proposed regulations for the growing number of medical marijuana facilities.
Several pressing issues facing the commission as they heard from dozens of residents and workers in Detroit regarding medical marijuana dispensary zoning … and owners who are worried they will have to close up shop.
Most spoke in favor of medical marijuana dispensary restrictions – part of which includes being no closer than 1,000 feet from schools, parks and churches.
“On behalf of the teachers of whom I work with – they support wholeheartedly any kind of restriction or regulation – because around our school we currently have six distribution centers … that our kids have to walk through daily,” said one resident during the meeting.
Marcia Brighter, a breast cancer patient, told the planning commission access to the dispensaries is critical.
“I don’t think people understand that it is easy for me to have access in my area verses having to go to an industrial area,” said Brighter.
Tom Wilson was among those who spoke before the Planning Commission — in favor of tougher restrictions.
“At the present rate of proliferation – we are going to have more dispensaries than we have churches, and we don’t need that,” said Wilson to applause from the attendees. “The ones that are already open – should not be grandfathered in – they should have to apply go through the whole process of being zoned.”
Earlier in the day patients with medical marijuana cards — check in at the desk at the lobby of 420 Dank on Gratiot near Outer Drive:
The store operates like a pharmacy with a drive-thru window.
Employees called ‘budtenders’ show card holders different kinds of marijuana, edibles and concentrates.
Kimberly is the owner – and under the proposed ordinance – she would be forced to shut down after investing almost $500,000 into the business.
“We are told by the city — that of the 150 centers — provision centers and caregiver centers that are open at this time – there is only a handful that operate and did the correct steps like we did – so they already have an avenue to go after the people who didn’t,” she says.
“So, we feel like being pushed out of a business zone would not be fair,” said Kimberly.
Jermaine Dickens is a spokesperson for the facility: “We had a tour here where we had five planning commissioners came by and got a look at the operation for the first time. They had never been to one of these — they hadn’t been inside.”
The new zoning proposal threatens business at many Detroit medical marijuana facilities. Currently there are an estimated 160 working dispensaries in the city.