By Charles Sercombe
In a close vote, city council shut the door on allowing any more marijuana retail outlets to open in Hamtramck.
At least, the vote put a stop to any investor who has yet to file paperwork with both the state and city to get a shop up and running.
The rush to halt recreational marijuana sales began just a few weeks ago, when a shop unexpectedly opened on Holbrook Ave.
Some city officials and residents were shocked to see the opening, and took immediate action to adopt an ordinance preventing any more from opening.
Apparently, though, there are two or three more in the works, and they have possibly beat the cutoff.
Not only has an ordinance to ban sales here been adopted, it also goes into effect once it’s published in this week’s issue of The Review, which is Dec. 11.
City Councilmembers Fadel Al-Marsoumi, Mohammed Hassan, Nayeem Choudhury and Mohammed Alsomiri pushed up from the usual lag time in making the ordinance go into effect, from 14 days after its publication to taking effect on the date of publication.
They took this action at Tuesday’s council meeting after hearing over two hours of comments from residents, most of whom were opposed to allowing marijuana sales.
Their opposition was based on what has now become the usual list of concerns: a fear of increased crime, of children getting their hands on the products and of property values decreasing.
Those in favor countered by saying that those fears have been debunked, and that the city desperately needs to add tax revenue.
Only Councilmembers Ian Perrotta and Andrea Karpinski, as well as Mayor Karen Majewski, voted against the ban.
Councilmember Al-Marsoumi said he based his decision on what he perceived to be what the majority of the residents want.
“They elected us, we have to listen,” he said.
Tuesday’s meeting was often contentious, and appears to have been a factor in Councilmember Karpinski abruptly resigning at the end of the meeting.
The same four councilmembers who voted for the ban also shot down Karpinski’s proposed ordinance to regulate the existing retail outlets.
“I didn’t go into the meeting intending to do this,” Karpinski said about resigning, “but I’ve had enough.”
Karpinski and Perrotta have increasingly been on the minority side of issues in recent months.
The issue appears to be the latest in a cultural divide in the city, which has been widening in recent months.
Those who oppose allowing marijuana sales are mostly from the Muslim Bengali and Yemeni communities, while those in favor tend to be white young adults.
Posted Dec. 11, 2020