Hamtramck City Council moves to prohibit marijuana sales after its first dispensary opens

Hamtramck City Council moves to prohibit marijuana sales after its first dispensary opens
Lee DeVito

The city of Hamtramck's recreational marijuana future may be up in smoke just a few weeks after its first dispensary quietly opened its doors.

Hamtramck City Council will hold a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17 to propose an ordinance that would prohibit marijuana businesses from opening, The Hamtramck Review reports.

The meeting, called by councilmembers Mohammed Alsomiri, Nayeem Choudhury, and Mohammed Hassan, comes after recreational marijuana retail spot Pleasantrees opened earlier this month.

Pleasantrees' opening apparently came as a surprise to the Hamtramck community, as was the news that another weed shop had been working toward securing proper zoning for a spot on Caniff Street, which prompted the urgent move by the city council to put a stop to other recreational dispensaries from opening.

“One day we woke up and realized there was a marijuana retail shop – there wasn’t even a ribbon-cutting,” Choudhury told The Hamtramck Review. “Some people believed this was by design.”

This isn't the first time the community has shown up to oppose marijuana operations.

Choudhury told The Review that it's council's responsibility to echo the wants and needs of the community.

“The multi-cultural community rejected this many times before,” Choudhury said. “If the majority of folks in the city don’t want it, why have it?”

So, why did the city not follow Detroit's lead? Currently, Detroit only allows medical marijuana facilities to operate within city limits, though that may soon change with the introduction of more detailed ordinances that would not only allow retail weed shops but also consumption lounges.

Apparently, Hamtramck City Council chose to neither opt-out nor opt-in when it was given the chance to prohibit or allow weed shops, which means there was no law in place to actively prevent them from opening.

The meeting, however, is step one of several in getting an ordinance formally adopted, and, regardless of its outcome, Hamtramck does not have the authority to close businesses that have already opened under state law. Should the council adopt the ordinance, they will then have to hold a public hearing two weeks after Tuesday's meeting before taking a final city council vote. The final step to ban all marijuana operations (retail and grow operations included) would be to publish the ordinance in order to enforce it.

The public is invited to tune into the meeting starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday via a Zoom link posted to the city's Facebook page.

The Hamtramck location marks Michigan brand Pleasantrees' second retail shop. General manager Jonathan Coleman told Metro Times that Pleasantrees has also been approved for 10 additional licenses to open and operate other cannabis retail locations throughout the state.

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