Detroit- A marijuana advocacy group could appeal a recent decision by a judge to strike down two medical marijuana initiatives approved by voters in Detroit.
“Currently, we are examining all options before moving forward with any course of action,” Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform spokesperson Jonathan Barlow said according to Detroit Free Press. “However, we are disappointed in that the city refuses to have dialogue with us in order to help minorities in the industry.”
Proposal B, which was passed by voters in November would have created zoning laws for marijuana businesses in Detroit that would have deviated from state regulations. The initiative would have loosened zoning restrictions and allowed marijuana businesses in Detroit to be located in the city’s industrial and commercials districts including downtown.
Proposal A, another voter-approved initiative, was partially reversed by Chief Judge Robert Columbo Jr. Under this initiative, Detroit marijuana businesses could be located within 500 feet of other dispensaries. It would also have permitted marijuana businesses to operate near liquor stores, child care centers, and parks.
Without being able to operate businesses in the city’s urban areas, the opportunity for minorities to enter the marijuana industry could be put in jeopardy. Existing businesses may be forced to close.
“The city is not honoring the will of the people by their statements both in and out of court,” Barlow said. “If they ever had intent on helping minorities enter into the market, it’s been shot by their lack of support.”
The city of Detroit will now be required to join the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Act, the state regulatory bill for medical marijuana.
While many patients and prospective business owners may not have agreed with the rulings, some local community members, such as co-chair of the Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition Marcus Cummings, were pleased with the outcome.
“We’re glad the city picked it up after our standards were questioned,” Cummings said. “Legally, they (Citizens) can appeal, but if you ask me, ‘do they have a case? ‘ I’d say no. Proposal B went against Michigan’s Zoning Enabling Act. I don’t see any of the appellate court judges ruling in their favor. The best thing for Citizens is to work with neighborhood groups in drafting something that was equitable for all.”
Cummings says he is not looking to dismantle Detroit’s marijuana industry but wants to make sure the community’s best interests are considered.
“We’re not anti-marijuana at all,” Cummings said. “We just want fair regulations and we don’t want to be flooded with this industry. … You just want to make sure the communities and the business owners and the patients are set up where it’s a safe environment.”
Both initiatives were both approved by 60% of voters last November but have faced challenges by a number of lawsuits.