Detroit could have legal weed right now, except that its officials can’t decide whether it will be good or bad for violent crime in the city.
Recreational adult use cannabis is legal in Michiganas of last month, but municipalities have the option to opt out of the plan. The Detroit City Council passed an ordinance to postpone the issuance of licenses until January 31.
Now that the deadline is approaching, city council member James Tate has introduced a measure that would delay legal weed another two months.
Tate says the delay will help the city make sure that it’s program is equitable and fair.
“It’s clear that Detroit’s medical marijuana industry is overwhelmingly owned and operated by individuals who don’t live in the city and take their dollars back to their communities,” he said in a press release. “It’s critical that we take the necessary time now to ensure that Detroit’s impending recreational marijuana industry will properly reflect the demographic of the city it’s located in.”
Some in the city believe that Tate’s proposal would merely delay a much-needed relief to the city’s crime.
Stuart Carter, owner of Detroit dispensary Utopia Gardens, says legalization will help the community contend with the black market.
“There’s a big issue with crime in Detroit, there has been for a long time,” Carter told M Live. ” … In looking at the fact that, by not allowing a recreation, a city has increased the crime statistics it seems like an easy do for the city … to allow the current establishment to start processing or selling marijuana to the general public.
Some officials take the exact opposite view: that legal weed would actually aid violent crime in the city.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said, “I had a meeting with [precinct investigators and Special Response Team members], and they said most of these shootings and homicides came from illegal marijuana sales… my staff tells me there are more shootings involving sales of black market marijuana than any other drug, including cocaine or heroin.”
Craig went on to say that the problem with legalizing weed is that it would make it so that criminals were no longer committing crime, and could therefore not be arrested.
“We know definitively that black-market sellers and buyers are carrying guns, many illegally,” Craig said. “When it comes to the marijuana itself, things are still vague; if we catch someone during a transaction, they could just say they gifted it if it’s under 2 ounces, and that’s legal.”
That is too bad. Guess they’d just have to implement atop and frisk then, or just legalize racial profiling.