After opposing legal weed in Detroit, Rev. Horace Sheffield III now wants in

Mar 15, 2021 at 9:37 am
click to enlarge Rev. Horace Sheffield III, center, at the "Weed's Legal ... Now What?" in Detroit. - Larry Gabriel
Larry Gabriel
Rev. Horace Sheffield III, center, at the "Weed's Legal ... Now What?" in Detroit.

Although Republican legislators fought against President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and none of them voted for it, once it was passed they quickly began informing their constituents about how to get the money that will be available through it.

"Unfortunately, Republicans, as I say, 'Vote no and take the dough,'" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said, according to The Washington Post. "You see already some of them claiming, 'Oh, this is a good thing or that's a good thing,' but they couldn't give it a vote.

We're seeing a bit of that kind of opportunism right here in Detroit regarding money generated from legal marijuana sales.

A few years back Rev. Horace Sheffield III sat on a panel sponsored by Michigan Public Radio addressing the subject "Weed's Legal ... Now What?" At the time Sheffield had nothing good to say about marijuana and remained adamant that he doesn't support legalization.

In the run up to legalization, when the prospect arose of communities profiting from the money generated in sales, Sheffield was known to refer to it as "dirty money." He was adamant that marijuana was a gateway drug and talked about how marijuana use in his youth was a gateway to his six months as a cocaine addict.

Maybe that money has been laundered so that it's now clean, because Sheffield is now fighting to get a piece of the action for a nonprofit he is affiliated with.

Sheffield and the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) has three times sought to enter community benefits agreements with marijuana businesses, wherein the group would get 1 percent of the businesses' gross revenue. Medical marijuana facilities are encouraged and recreational facilities are required to enter into these agreements — although for some reason officials at the City of Detroit's Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) has chosen other organizations other than DABO.

According to The Detroit Free Press, Sheffield said he had an agreement with Ryan Riddle, who was looking to renovate an existing building and open a marijuana growing facility on Detroit's northwest side. But BSEED has told Riddle that he needs to partner with the Northwest Community Block Club, not DABO.

Apparently Sheffield, who did not respond to multiple attempts for comment, has seen the green of marijuana money — and it doesn't seem so dirty after all.

It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.