Marijuana in the news: A Michigan roundup

Marijuana has been in the news a lot in Michigan lately. 

In Detroit, the City Council is expected to take up a medical marijuana ordinance that could include a community benefits package. The ordinance, which was proposed by Councilmember James Tate, would regulate dispensaries city-wide and establish rules for where certain kinds of marijuana-related operations, like growing and distribution, could take place. 

Last year, Detroiters passed a ballot measure easing restrictions on opening dispensaries, but which lacked clarity about some of these issues. If the ordinance is passed, the total number that could operate in the city would be capped at 75. 

The ordinance also includes a provision that would "invite prospective owners of medical marijuana facilities to offer community benefits as part of their application for approval," according to a city press release.

"Approving this ordinance would finally bring some closure to this issue and chart the path to the future of this industry in the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan," said Councilman Tate. "The goal has always been to ensure that we have an industry that is respectful of the neighborhoods, the communities it is located in, but also considerate to individuals seeking safe access to alternative medication."

At the state level, Michigan voters will consider whether to allow legal use of recreational marijuana this November. Both advocates and opponents are gearing up for the vote.

According to the Detroit News, nearly everyone recognizes this will be an enormous economic boon to the state — to the tune of an estimated $200 million annually in tax revenues — in the form of weed sales, hemp-products, and jobs.

And many researchers have found little correlation between health risk and marijuana legalization in states like Washington and Colorado, which passed legalization laws in 2012.

One thing to note, however, is that Michigan's law still will not allow for public consumption of marijuana. In the article, Jolene Forman, a staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, says that while evidence shows that marijuana legalization is working, "establishing safe public places for people to consume marijuana" is important. 

Read more articles by Aaron Mondry.

Aaron Mondry is the managing editor of Model D and a Detroit-based freelance writer. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @AaronMondry.
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