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As one of the most historic cities in America continues to fight it’s way back to economic promise, an unlikely industry is booming in Detroit – medical marijuana dispensaries.

“This is the next big thing in the city of Detroit.”

said Councilman James Tate.

“It’s quiet for folks who are not really paying attention, but everyday it seems like another business is opening up.”

Tate characterized the number of medical marijuana dispensaries operating within the city limits as “staggering.” He estimates there are a total of ~180 medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit.

“I’ve counted 13 in District One myself. We see some locations, certainly along 8 Mile and other border streets, where you have four, five, six kind of clustered together.” Tate continued.

That statement alone tells me there were no strict, if any regulations being enforced from the get go. In most medical marijuana jurisdictions dispensaries are mandated to be a specific distance from another dispensary – generally 750 to 1,000 feet.

Councilman Tate noted this as the main issue for so many shops popping up in a short period of time.

“These buildings, they have now just started popping up everywhere and because the state law is not clear on if they’re allowed or not, we take these businesses to court and they just get tied up and they just stay there. We have not won one case, nothing has been shut down and that’s the reason why. Most of these businesses don’t have a permit, they have no licensing.”

Beyond the legal issues the city faces, Tate said he’s concerned about the impact that the dispensaries are having in their communities.

“It’s not about being against it. It’s about making sure that we’re able to regulate it in a way that ensures the best quality of life for the residents who live in that area.”

Tate stated.

“We’ve got a lot of complaints about it but some of that is emotional because they just don’t like the issue. The other part of it is people are not educated on it.”

City Council members in Detroit are basically at a standstill until lawmakers in Lansing better define the medical marijuana laws concerning dispensaries.

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