Crackdown looms for medical marijuana in Detroit

Posted at 11:33 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 23:33:50-05

Ride through the streets of Detroit at any time, day or night and you can’t help but wonder what’s happening with the city’s war on drugs.

Medical marijuana shops are everywhere.

Even the police are amazed by what they see.

Everyone is surprised.

Danzal Coleman, a student at Osborn High School says it’s tempting for teens.

"It's really easy to get,” he says. “If you want it, go ahead pay someone extra, go in there get it for you."

Thanks to a loophole in Michigan’s medical marijuana act, the number of shops has exploded. There are 211 in the city. Not many in the suburbs. And get this – just 97 public schools in Detroit.

Councilman Scott Benson is one of many fighting for tougher regulations.

“I believe it should be located in industrial districts only, away from our neighborhoods, children and families,” he says.

In March, an ordinance will take effect creating drug-free zones. Centers will have to be 1,000 feet from schools, churches, parks, libraries, as well as other medical marijuana centers.

To get a sense of the problem and the battle ahead, we rode with cops and visited medical marijuana centers.

At Starbuds on 8 Mile and van Dyke people we stopped had cards that allow them to buy marijuana for medical reasons.

The manager, Nick, says customers – or patients – come from across the state.

The police have been watching.

Detroit's top cop is leading the fight. He believes the ordinance will turn the tables.

Chief Craig says they've busted 33 centers over the last year for illegal selling marijuana.

The ordinance in Detroit goes into effect March 1st.

Police say business owners will have a chance to apply for a license and be given some time before the crackdown actually begins.