Detroit Closes 167 Marijuana Dispensaries, More Busts Planned

Detroit has a booming medical marijuana industry, and most of it is illegal, say city officials. A total of 167 dispensaries have been closed in the first wave of city crackdown and more busts are planned for the coming weeks.

Detroit attorney Melvin Butch Hallowell says that nearly 300 dispensaries were operating without the required licenses as of last year. He sent a letter to 283 of the dispensaries, notifying them of their illegal status and stating that unless their facility becomes fully licensed “you are operating at your own risk.”

Only five of the hundreds of dispensaries notified have been fully licensed since the notification and are now meet the legal requirements to operate within city limits. There are, however, multiple applications still in queue for approval, says Hollowell.

Hallowell has pinpointed the next 51 illegally operating dispensaries to be targeted for closure by city officials in the coming weeks. If all 51 are found to be selling medical marijuana without the proper licenses in place the total of closures will reach 218.

City officials say the end goal is to limit the number of dispensaries to just 50. There are only 244,125 registered medical marijuana users in the entire state.

State marijuana dispensaries must adhere to strict regulations which include boundary restrictions and require a business license designed for marijuana stores. Since last year a team of inspectors from the city Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department have been systematically visiting noncompliant dispensaries to notify them of their infraction.

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