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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ending the War on Pot in the City of Detroit with Democracy at the Ballot Box - Protecting the Right to Vote by Referendum

By Richard C. Clement


On Thursday December 17, 2015 at 1:15pm, the Detroit City Council will be voting to implement changes in Ordinance number #61 that will eliminate up to 95% of the Marijuana Dispensary businesses in the City of Detroit.  The reasons for their removal is that a number of community groups and Church pastors say that these places are illegal according to the State of Michigan.  This is the same State of Michigan that poisoned the water in Flint Michigan, committed Voter Fraud by re-establishing the Emergency Manager by making it referendum proof, and decimated public education with under-performing academies and a bunch of MBA’s running the education system instead of educators.

Another reason for the “swift passage” of this ordinance is that a sitting City Council-member has been promised a financial interest in a marijuana facility if this ordinance passed as written. The Council-member will get a 10% stake in a facility called “The Reef”.  A direct quote from the article states the following:

“I was there, and I can personally attest to the fact that Terrence Mansour is working on a deal to give a Detroit city council member and their significant other a 10 percent cut of the action from his dispensary to pass these new rules,” Brikho said. “It’s a pay-to-play system that is being created by these dirty, corrupt bureaucrats and the fat cats like Mansour who own them. This is a heist that is taking place. It’s criminal.”

After the national embarrassment of indictments, convictions, and issues of public trust, the only honorable thing to do is let the Citizens of Detroit vote on the ordinance in the general election in November 2016 through the referendum process. Council-member Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. believes that the Citizen Electors of the City of Detroit should be making that decision to restore trust and integrity in Detroit and it's elected officials.

Objections to ordinance

  1. Unreasonable Hours of Operation. Forcing businesses to close at 8pm based on unsupported data may be un-constitutional and may be challenged in a court of law.
  2. Unreasonable excuses to prevent consumption onsite of Marijuana after purchase or growing. If onsite consumption is allowed for Hookah Bars, Micro Breweries, and Cigar Bars, there is no excuse to prevent onsite consumption of marijuana on private property with the permission of the owner. Prosecuting these types of “crimes” is a waste of law enforcement, and legal resources of the City of Detroit.
  3. Removal of Drive through businesses based on unsubstantiated data and the faulty theory of the late Harry Ainslinger 1st Director of the US Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA)     
  4. Arbitrary and capricious zoning distances for MMJ businesses and neighborhoods that will Zone 90% of all marijuana businesses out of business while liquor stores and churches are allowed to cluster with no extra requirements. 
  5. Prohibiting Waivers for Marijuana Businesses
Solutions:
  1. 24hr operations with a special permit license
  2. Removal of onsite consumption restrictions from the ordinance
  3. Special Permit to operate a Drive through. These places should be zoned like a bank or drugstore like CVS, Walgreens, etc.
  4. Allow a special use permit for cultivation in commercial areas. 
    1. B4 industry, square footage
  5. 1000 Feet from a school under the US Drug Free Zone laws
  6. Community Benefit Agreement with the Marijuana facilities promising to hire Detroit residents, and help keep up the neighborhood adding to the uplift of the quality of life for residents. Including allowing business owners to select a school and perform 20 hrs. community service.
A ballot initiative to replace this zoning ordinance will give Detroit citizens a perfect opportunity to conduct business as long as they are being good citizens. Currently there are an untold number of Hair Salons, Liquor Stores, and churches that are right next to each other. Some pastors welcome the new business as it has been treated as a blight remover and employer.

The work being performed by these Marijuana business owners on their property rivals HGTV and it is something that should be honored because it raised the value of the property. For people who say that these businesses are “dumping” on Detroit, look at what they are dumping. Some of the revenue from these places could be used to fix public education and fund school districts like Highland Park Michigan, Inkster, and Detroit Public Schools for example.

Medical Marijuana has been the best blessing the City has ever had because lots of investors in state and out of state are headed to Detroit and Michigan to find property. Empty building that were not being used are being re-purposed and paying property taxes to the City, unlike Churches that are open and/or under construction unopened.

People, we need your support for letting the people vote on this issue.  We strongly encourage owners and supporters to contact Detroit City council-members (click here) and let them know how you feel about it.

The citizens of Detroit have too much sense and wisdom to be bought off from special interest groups, and un-informed clergy members who are stuck in the draconian era of 1939 of prohibition and don’t take the time to read. We are issuing an open challenge to Pastor Marvin Winans to visit one of these esteemed facilities right next to his church at Miles Green Acers on Woodward and 7 mile next to the Doughnut shop.  We will make sure that no one bites him and we hope that he and his pastor friends visit the ones on Woodward Avenue.  

We want the law to respect the will of the people instead of one person on the church steeple. We are a democracy not a theocracy!


Let the People Vote!

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