Most major cities have said “yes” to recreational marijuana, but the Motor City has taken a different position — for now.
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In a last-minute decision, Detroit leaders have decided to temporarily ban adult-use recreational marijuana sales. When legal marijuana sales start in Michigan, which is expected to happen Dec. 1, residents in the Motor City will have to go elsewhere for cannabis. The decision came in November.
While Detroit is the largest city to ban marijuana sales in the state of Michigan, it is not alone. About 79 percent of municipalities in Michigan have done the same. The long list is available from the state.
The decision to ban marijuana comes in the wake of voters statewide approving a referendum in November 2018 to allow legal recreational marijuana sales.
“Detroit completely dropped the ball,” Rush Hasan, head of operations and business development at the Reef, a medical marijuana business in Detroit that is seeking a recreational sales license, told Metro Times. “Unfortunately, it affects all of the businesses in Detroit.”
City Officials Waited Until The Last Minute To Make A Decision
City officials said that the ban will only last until Jan. 31 while the city creates its own rules and regulations governing marijuana sales. However, some fear that could be extended longer because city officials waited until now to start drafting those rules.
Metro Times reported the city officials offered no reason for why they waited so long to begin creating the new regulations. They also reported that city officials “hoped to” have the regulations drafted by the end of January.
City leaders voted on the ban after the state had already started taking license applications. Because of that, some marijuana businesses have vowed to open despite the ban.
A Big Market Is Still Predicted In Michigan
Once all the regulations get ironed out, Michigan is expected to become a large adult-use marijuana market. The state expected to reach $180.5 million in the first full year of sales. By 2023, that number may reach as high as $287.9 million, according to the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.
The measure to approve legal adult-use marijuana sales passed by more than 400,000 votes. But local jurisdictions were given the right to ban sales, and an overwhelming majority have done so.
The reasons vary from cities and towns around the state. Some, like Detroit, want to develop their own set of regulations. Others, such as city leaders in Grosse Pointe Shores, did not feel they have enough retail space to allow marijuana dispensaries.
Some city leaders told The Detroit News that there is also confusion about the potency of some types of marijuana, whether pharmacies can distribute cannabis and the safety standards that will be in place to regulate the distribution process.
Of the cities that are allowing sales, most expect Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ferndale to emerge as hubs for the recreational marijuana industry, according to the Metro Times.