The Detroit City Council today approved a set of licensing regulations for the city’s booming medical marijuana industry. A separate set of zoning rules about where the pot shops can operate in the city is still being discussed.
Councilman James Tate said it’s the city’s responsibility to address residents’ concerns about the marijuana dispensaries. He said the licensing rules allow people to receive their medicine.
“Right now, there’s no ordinance to allow for these places to exist,” Tate said. “That compassion is there…because it allows these facilities to exist.”
The council voted 6-1 to approve the licensing rules. The ordinance won’t take effect until the zoning portion of the marijuana regulations is decided.
Under the licensing ordinance, existing medical marijuana shops would have to get a license or be shut down. There are about 150 in the city now. Operators of the shops would be subject to a police background check and drive-through service would be prohibited. The ordinance also sets an inspection process.
Councilman George Cushingberry Jr., who cast the lone “no” vote, said the council rushed the vote. He said he wanted to submit amendments but didn’t have time since Monday’s public hearing. Cushingberry repeatedly tried to offer amendments to the ordinance at today’s meeting but was ruled out of order.
“Nobody seems to have any compassion for the people who have to receive this medicine,” Cushingberry said. “What is the rush?”
Other council members said there has been ample time to draft amendments.
“We owe it to the citizens of Detroit to answer to their concerns,” Councilwoman Janee Ayers said. “This is not something that happened overnight.”
Councilmembers Mary Sheffield and Scott Benson were absent from the vote.