Voters in Detroit last night decided to relax rules currently in place for medical marijuana dispensaries. The proposed amendments won overwhelmingly last night. Detroit marijuana will now be more accessible to patients in the future.
Detroit voters said “yes” to relaxing restrictions on medical marijuana facilities, making it easier for dispensaries to open and operate in the city.
With more than 96% of the precincts reporting late Tuesday, the “yes” vote for one proposal was leading with 60% of the vote. The “yes” vote on the second proposal, the one that effects zoning, was also leading with 58% of the vote.
The two proposals will have wide-ranging impact on the city. Last year, the city adopted an ordinance — which took effect March 1, 2016 — that made it more difficult for marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.
Since the ordinance took effect, the city has shut down 186 of the city’s 283 dispensaries that had been selling medical marijuana.
If approved, the vote would hand a victory to Citizens for Sensible Cannabis, a group of dispensary owners who organized the petition drive to put the two proposals on the ballot. Several city council members and ministers came out against both proposals.
The cannabis group sought to, among other things, expand the hours dispensaries are permitted to operate, from 8 p.m. currently to 9 p.m.
The proposals would eliminate the city Board of Zoning Appeals’ authority to review dispensary applications, allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary, allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of religious institutions and eliminate the requirement that the city hold public hearings and solicit public comment on proposals to open dispensaries.
In addition, the proposals would establish a process for licensing dispensaries that bypasses the Detroit City Council and opts into the licensing regulations issued by the state.