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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Field Report - Sensible Marijuana Policy Practice for Local Units of Government

By Richard Clement - Marijuana Policy Analyst 

At the 46th Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, industry leaders, students, and politicians met to share the moment and discuss strategies to manage the re-legalization of Marijuana in Michigan.  On December 20th, 2017 Gov. Snyder signed into law sweeping legislation to allow local units of government to regulate and tax Marijuana businesses in the State.  Under the new law, Cities and Townships can design local ordinances that can limit the number of facilities within their boundaries. County Governments stand to make the most gains with a 35% cut of all revenues going toward their budgets.

Richard "Free The Weed"  Clement
Joe White - MI NORML,
Former St. Rep Jeff Irwin(D) Ann Arbor

As it stands now, the current Marijuana Ordinance in the City of Detroit has been applied in such a manner as to allow unscrupulous activity such as people starting up Day Care Centers to prevent the opening of a facility. Another example in Northwest Detroit is using a mothballed City Parks and Recreation center as a Drug Free Zone instead of a recreation center for seniors and Children to shut down another facility.  The current Detroit Marijuana Ordinance has allowed this type of behavior to flourish. The current City ordinance must be modified by an agreement with all of the people to stop and control this type of conduct.

Yes there needs to be regulation for Marijuana businesses in Cities and Townships.  This August and November, citizens have an opportunity to enact sensible cannabis laws that reflect the will of all of the people by ballot vote.  Petition Initiatives that will have sensible variance requirements that are in line with any other business in a City.  New ordinance language will keep businesses 1000 feet from a school and removes the strict restrictions on Churches.  

Some congregations do not mind having a business next to them and, resent that their place of worship is aiding and abetting unethical behavior between business owners. Customers are upset that certain pastors who are in front of the line wanting to shut down Marijuana businesses, are in front of the line complaining when they are asked by their government to pay for their impervious water bills. Customers are enraged that people who do not live within 300 feet of the business come to Zoning Board Hearings to object to their business location, take precedent over the people who live there by law.

People’s attitudes are changing toward Marijuana because they have finally realized that the War on Drugs is a stupid war based on racism and mis-information. It is getting close to 100 years since Harry Ainslinger and J Edgar Hoover made arresting people of color for Marijuana a ritual of passage.

The time now for the City of Detroit law department to place an immediate moratorium on shutting down businesses in Detroit until, the citizens can vote on an ordinance on licensing and zoning that is acceptable to a majority of the people.  The collection of 5000 signatures for a ballot initiative will signal to the City Law Departments to cease the closure of these businesses until the people decide the issue with their vote. 

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