Detroit Mayor says Medical Marijuana Market Needs to be Regulated as Pot Shops Now Offer Drive-Thru Service in the City

Salesman Floyd Hardrick, right, 24, of Detroit assists Lisa Price, 55, of Detroit at 420 Dank. Price is suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease and has a medical marijuana license. (Photo: Salwan Georges, Detroit Free Press)
Salesman Floyd Hardrick, right, 24, of Detroit assists Lisa Price, 55, of Detroit at 420 Dank. Price is suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease and has a medical marijuana license. (Photo: Salwan Georges, Detroit Free Press)

With some medical-marijuana stores in Detroit now offering drive-through purchasing, the city’s marketplace for medical pot has spiraled out of control and needs to be regulated, Mayor Mike Duggan said.

Dozens of dispensaries line 8 Mile and other major thoroughfares and a Free Press investigation found that at least three offer drive-through service.

With medical marijuana being dispensed in Detroit as casually as burgers and fries, the mayor senses urgency as the City Council prepares to debate next week how to regulate the proliferating industry. Duggan said he supports restrictive zoning that would govern where the dispensaries can be located in relation to schools, churches, adult entertainment establishments and neighborhoods.

Proponents of medical-pot sales said that regulations could bring tax revenue to the city and eliminate unscrupulous dispensaries that might sell to anyone who walks in. But they warned that wrong-headed regulations, including those that single out drive-through service as any different than drive-through lanes at ordinary drugstores, could chill a new industry that promises to bring jobs and tax dollars as part of Detroit’s economic rebound.

“We need to get an ordinance passed, because right now we have no ability to enforce anything,” Duggan told reporters, after a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “I think we need to eliminate the drive-through aspect, which has now been added to some of these facilities.”

The Free Press found three drive-through dispensaries, each in a former restaurant or bank that had drive-through lanes. The managers or owners of two of the dispensaries defended their drive-through windows, saying they are useful for people with disabilities that affect their mobility or other medical conditions.

The owner of the recently opened 420 Dank, located in a former coney island restaurant on Gratiot near the Detroit Police Department’s Eastern District Offices, said she understands concerns about the mushrooming number of dispensaries in Detroit,  but she said it’s unfair to single out those with drive-through windows.

“I know the mayor has concerns over drive-throughs, but there are patients who aren’t mobile, who can’t walk in and out of the store,” said the owner of 420 Dank, Kim G., who asked that her last name not be used to protect her children’s identity.

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SOURCE: Matt Helms
Detroit Free Press