AP NEWS

Detroit City Council extends temporary ban on pot sales

January 28, 2020 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A temporary ban on recreational pot sales in Detroit has been extended through March 31.

The Detroit City Council voted Tuesday on the temporary opt-out ordinance for adult-use marijuana.

Recreational marijuana use by adults who are at least 21 is legal under Michigan law, but small recreational sales aren’t legal yet in Detroit. The state law allows communities to opt-out of allowing recreational marijuana sales. So far, about 1,400 communities have done so.

Detroit’s extension will allow “additional opportunity to continue to develop a social equity program that ensures all eligible Detroiters have an opportunity” to participate in Michigan’s new marijuana industry, according to City Councilman James Tate’s office.

“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,” Tate said Tuesday. “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.”

Meanwhile, Detroit’s illegal marijuana market is being blamed on an uptick in violent crime. Police Chief James Craig said last week that many of the city’s homicides since Jan. 1 have involved marijuana deals.

The demand for black market marijuana has been high because of its low cost, Craig told The Detroit News.

Police are cracking down on the violence by focusing on people possessing firearms illegally, which has resulted in 19 felony arrests since last Wednesday, the police department said in a release. Officers also recovered other drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine.

“This effort is really to focus on the violence and buyers and sellers who are illegally carrying guns,” Craig said Tuesday.