Detroit Proposes Limits on Licensed Marijuana Dispensaries


The City of Detroit may impose limits on the number of licensed marijuana dispensaries it allows. City Councilmember Chris Tate has proposed a new ordinance that caps the number of cannabis dispensaries at 75. The proposal also gives the city authority to regulate businesses involved in cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and distribution.

The measure also encourages potential owners of cannabis businesses to offer community benefits in their permit applications. Tate told local media that the new ordinance will allow medical marijuana patients and the city at large to coexist.

“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,” Tate said. “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. This ordinance balances those two needs with the preservation of neighborhoods being the top priority.”

Amir Makled is an attorney who represents medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit. He believes that city officials should not establish arbitrary limits that can hinder the growth of the cannabis economy.


The ordinance goes against “the will of the voters,” Makled said. “I understand the city has an interest in curtailing the amount of dispensaries they have or medical marijuana facilities. But I think they should have allowed the market to determine what was a reasonable amount of facilities to have.”

Can Cannabis be the Economic Boost Detroit Needs?

Makled also said that cannabis is a chance to revitalize Detroit’s depressed economy. But for that to happen, city officials must embrace the new opportunity.

“If Detroit is going to make a comeback and have new industries come into the city, they should welcome this industry,” Makled said. “It can create a tax base and a whole new hub for the industry, so I’m surprised they’re curtailing that growth.”


The new ordinance would also clarify “drug-free zones” and zoning and distance requirements for cannabis businesses. Earlier this year, Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. of the Wade County Circuit Court partially overturned Proposal A — which was approved by voters in November 2017, and would have allowed dispensaries within 500 feet of each other. It also allowed dispensaries to locate near liquor stores, child care centers, and other so-called sensitive use establishments.

Judge Colombo also entirely struck down Proposal B, which voters also passed last year. That law established zoning regulations for pot businesses and permitted dispensaries and processors in all business and industrial districts.

Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia said Tate’s proposal will guide the growth of the cannabis industry.


“Detroit’s new, proposed ordinance will…resolve some of the confusion created by some of the misguided zoning restrictions that were originally part of the ballot initiative,” Garcia said in a statement. “In short, the new ordinance, if passed, will clarify Detroit’s common-sense regulation on medical marijuana activity and will allow for all five of the legal uses contemplated by state statute.”

Pennsylvania to Make Whole-Plant Cannabis Flower Available to Patients


Dry leaf cannabis is coming to Pennsylvania dispensaries following a decision by the state Department of Health, which on Monday approved a move to make whole-plant cannabis flower available to state medical marijuana patients.

The move is expected to lower costs and improve patient access to cannabis, which went on sale to qualified patients in February. The program currently permits only oils and concentrates.

“Dry leaf or flower will be sold in Pennsylvania dispensaries in a form that can be vaporized, not smoked, later this summer.”

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Health Secretary

Smoking cannabis would still be prohibited under the new rule, which is aimed at allowing patients to vaporize the plant. But while state law prohibits dispensaries from selling products designed to be smoked, patients advocates such as Chris Goldstein have pointed out that cannabis flower sold for vaping could also be smoked.

Still, the law is clear: “Dry leaf or flower will be sold in Pennsylvania dispensaries in a form that can be vaporized, not smoked, later this summer,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. But in practice, the two forms are indistinguishable, and it’s not clear what measures, if any, the state may take to prevent patients from smoking the plant.

Other changes approved by the Health Department would expand the list of qualifying conditions, eliminate the need for patients to pay for a medical cannabis ID card more than once per year, allow doctors to opt-out of a public list of registered physicians, and require children’s recommendations to be certified by a pediatrician or pediatric specialist.

Only a few states have adopted medical cannabis programs that explicitly forbid the sale of smokable flower. Some that have, such as Minnesota, have struggled to attract patients or move them out of the illicit market. Others, such as Florida, have been hit with legal challenges.



Minnesota Medical Cannabis Providers Run $11M in Red

“Allowing cannabis in its natural, flower form and expanding the list of qualifying conditions will have a huge positive impact on seriously ill Pennsylvanians,” Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. The advocacy group said that the current restriction on whole-plant cannabis has led to product shortages and “prohibitively expensive” medicine across the state.

In Florida, where the state’s medical cannabis law prohibits smokable flower, a judge last week ruled that a 77-year-old man could grow his own cannabis for juicing. None of the treatment centers licensed in that state currently offer whole-plant or juicing products, yet a doctor recommended cannabis juice as part of treatment to prevent a relapse of stage-four lung cancer.

A separate lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on smokable forms of cannabis is scheduled to go to trial next month.



John Morgan Sues to Overturn Florida’s Smokeable-Cannabis Ban

In Pennsylvania, the changes approved by Health Department are set to take effect on May 12, when the agency promulgates official regulations.

“By being able to provide medical marijuana in plant form, producers will be able to get medicine into the hands of patients much more quickly and for much lower cost to patients,” Dansky said. “This is vitally important for patient access right now while the program is still getting off the ground and production is not yet at full capacity. We hope these rules are promulgated as quickly as possible so even more patients will be able to find relief.”

According to the state government, more than 30,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical cannabis program, with more than 10,000 having received ID cards and purchased cannabis at a dispensary. Nearly 1,000 physicians have registered for the program, with more than half of those having been certified.

Michigan May Legalize Recreational Marijuana Before November Ballot


What seems on its surface like an early win for cannabis advocates in Michigan may, in fact, be an attempt to rig the state’s upcoming general election. The question of legalizing recreational marijuana will appear on the November ballot, and voters are expected to turn out to register their support. But the prospect of higher voter turnout has some GOP lawmakers in Lansing worried. Concerned better turnout could impact other races, they’ve begun discussing ways to take legalization off the ballot. But broad support for the issue leaves them with just one move. And that’s why Michigan may legalize recreational marijuana before November ballot.

In A Bid To Suppress Voter Turnout, GOP Lawmakers Want To Legalize Weed Early

Historically, higher voter turnouts tend to favor more liberal or progressive candidates. In other words, more voters typically means more Democrats in office.

No wonder Republican-controlled state legislatures have made voter-suppression tactics a staple of their political strategy. And their efforts have accelerated in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Voter-suppression tactics include things like closing polling locations, issuing strict ID laws, voter purging and disenfranchisement. Gerrymandering, or the redrawing of election districts to favor particular candidates, is another way of distorting democratic representation.

And in these areas, Michigan is one of the worst. In December 2016, Michigan’s Republican-led House passed some of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws in the face of strong objections from Democrats and civil society groups. ID requirements tend to make it harder for minority, elderly, and student voters—groups that tend to vote Democrat—to cast their ballots.


And in April 2017, The Center for Michigan found that gerrymandering in the state is among the nation’s worst. The report shows how districts dramatically and disproportionately favor Republicans.

Put plainly, Michigan Republicans have a documented history of using extreme voter-suppression tactics. And one could argue these have already had a major impact on U.S. democracy. Donald Trump won Michigan by just 10,704 votes.

GOP Lawmakers In Lansing Fear Putting Legal Weed On The Ballot Could Flip The House

The fewer voters the better, as far as GOP lawmakers in Michigan are concerned. But nothing tends to rock the vote quite like a vote on legal recreational marijuana.

All the recent polls show overwhelming support for legal recreational in Michigan. So much so, in fact, that if the vote were to happen today, the measure would pass overwhelmingly.

But polls show another interesting thing about the issue of legal weed in Michigan. Namely, that it could drive voter turnout enough to impact other races.


And in an unpredictable election year many feel could be a wave election flipping state assemblies for the Democrats, some Republicans are viewing the pot voter boost as a legitimate concern.

A few GOP lawmakers in Lansing have already begun discussing whether they should attempt to legalize weed through a legislative process ahead of the state’s general election in November.

In other words, Michigan may legalize recreational marijuana before November ballot in an attempt to keep voters who would otherwise come out to support the ballot, home

Experts expect races will be tight this November. So even a two to three percent boost in voter turnout could make the difference in many districts and cause Republicans to lose the House.

The Final Hit: Michigan May Legalize Recreational Marijuana Before November Ballot

So far, the question of whether to legislatively pass recreational cannabis has been a behind-closed-doors topic among Republican lawmakers. “I don’t think it’s reached critical mass at this point,” said political consultant Dennis Darnoi.

Indeed, deep divisions persist among the caucus over the issue of recreational weed. But concerns over losing the House might be enough to overcome them. Michigan Republicans have previously tried to move a legalization bill through the legislature with no success.

Michigan Releases Symbol to Label Medical Marijuana Products


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has released an official symbol to label medical marijuana products that are sold in the state and is detailing required labeling for such products.

The symbol is an upside-down green triangle with an image of a green marijuana leaf in the middle along with the words “CONTAINS THC” above it. THC is the active ingredient of marijuana.



The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs also released details of labeling for medical marijuana products under the state’s “Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act.” Those include date of harvest, other identifying information and concentration of THC.

Full details are posted on a section of the state’s website.

Michigan voters approved marijuana use in 2008 for some chronic medical conditions. New regulations were approved in 2016.