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Marijuana shops near liquor stores, churches in Detroit? Voters to decide in November Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press Published 3:08 p.m. ET Sept. 15, 2017 636404916081767969-inside-Weed-090817-rb-005.jpgBuy Photo (Photo: Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press) 6 CONNECT TWEET 1 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENT EMAIL MORE Two initiatives that would amend Detroit’s medical marijuana ordinance to allow dispensaries to open near liquor stores, and grow facilities to operate legally, will appear on the November ballot, after a Wayne County circuit judge’s ruling earlier this week. If approved by voters in November, the changes could have a wide-reaching impact on the city’s budding marijuana industry. Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell told the Free Press that the city respects the right of voters to decide but concerns have been raised about the measures, particularly the one that would impact zoning regulations. “The voters are in charge and that’s the way it should be,” Hollowell said. “…We do have some concerns for sure, particularly on the one that deals with zoning questions. The Supreme Court has ruled that a city’s zoning ordinance cannot be amended by an initiative petition. We have some concerns about that but we’ll deal with that when it comes up.” More on Freep.com: Medical marijuana shops get a temporary reprieve from state Police suspect marijuana lab in Redford house explosion Citizens for Sensible Cannabis, the group that circulated petitions for the initiatives, filed a lawsuit Aug.15 against Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and the City of Detroit Election Commission after the parties said a measure to change zoning regulations by amending Chapter 61 of the city’s code, could not appear on the ballot. Citizens for Sensible Cannabis spokesman Jonathan Barlow said Friday that Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. ruled Tuesday both proposals will appear on the ballot. Elections Director Daniel Baxter also confirmed to the Free Press Friday that the two proposals will go before voters Nov. 7. “This is not only a victory for what our efforts are, this is a victory for the industry,” Barlow said. The effort to amend the ordinance comes a year after it took effect March 1, 2016. The ordinance was originally introduced by Councilman James Tate two years ago after hundreds of dispensaries opened in the city. ADVERTISING The first proposal seeks to amend Chapter 24 of the city’s code and would allow dispensaries to operate near liquor stores, child-care centers and parks. The amendments would establish the following: Opts Detroit into the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and establishes standards to regulate caregiver centers through the city’s Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department regarding issuance, renewal and revocation. It also removes the jurisdiction of Detroit’s Board of Zoning Appeal. Amends the definition of a Drug-Free School Zone to correspond to federal and state law that requires dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, colleges and public libraries Dispensaries will be allowed to open within 500 feet of another dispensary. They would also be allowed to open within 500 feet of exempt religious institutions where religious services are regularly conducted. The current ordinance requires facilities to be more than 1,000 feet from churches and other dispensaries. They would be allowed to open near liquor, beer/wine stores, child-care centers, arcades and parks. The current ordinance does not allow them to be open near any of them. Dispensaries would be allowed to stay open until 9 p.m. Currently, they’re required to close by 8 p.m. The second proposal would amend Chapter 61 of the city’s code to allow growers and “secure transporters” to open within the city’s M1-5 industrial districts. It would also allow processors, “provisioning centers” and safety compliance facilities to be permitted in additional business and industrial districts — B1-5 and M1-5. Baxter initially told the Free Press in July that the proposal seeking to amend Chapter 61 wasn’t valid. “The state zoning and enabling act precludes local jurisdictions from rezoning through ballot initiatives, meaning you can’t circulate,” Baxter said at the time. Barlow said Colombo disagreed. “What 61 is, is it gives an opportunity for us to be in line with the state as well as to allow multiple licenses to enter into Detroit now,” Barlow said. “So not only do you have dispensary licenses now that are potentially looking to come into Detroit but also grow licenses, transporter licenses, testing licenses as well as processor licenses. Which if you look at the industry as a whole, or what we call an economy, more Detroit residents should be able to apply for opportunities to acquire and obtain licenses in the revenue generating portions of this industry and new economy.” Hollowell said the amendment would require the city to opt into the new state law changes that were made in the latter part of last year. Hollowell said the state law allows for five different types of licenses: One for dispensaries, grow facilities, processors to make products for ingestion, secure transporters and safety compliance. Hollowell said for the cultivation, or grow facilities, the state law allows individuals to obtain a license to grow up to 500, 1,000 or in some cases, as many as 1,500 plants. 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, 175 shops have been shut down. Hollowell said if approved, the ordinances would change the “standards that the city has been operating under,” partially by allowing the operations to operate in a greater number of commercial areas. “It also takes some of the discretion out of the hands of the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department and the Board of Zoning Appeals,” Hollowell said. The decision to place both of the measures on the ballot came the same day the state Department of Licensing and Regulation decided that existing medical marijuana dispensaries will get a reprieve from being immediately shuttered. But officials warned that dispensary owners could harm their chance for a license from the state if they continue to operate past Dec. 15. Barlow said his organization “highly doubts” that what’s happening at the state level will impact the initiatives moving forward. “There’s nothing the state will do, can do, or should do in order to jeopardize what we’re doing,” Barlow said. “The state right now is going through their normal procedures in order to determine what’s the best way to start to approve and create some lines of distinction based off of what’s gong on across the state. We’re super duper excited about being able to have the voters be able to decide.” Contact Katrease Stafford: kstafford@freepress.com or 313-223-4759.

September 15, 2017

Despite wide support in town, Hermosa Beach bans commercial marijuana businesses

September 15, 2017

FEDERAL UNCERTAINTY STOPS REI FROM ENTERING MARIJUANA MARKET

September 14, 2017

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September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017