By Charles Sercombe
A bare majority of city councilmembers are still expected to outlaw the sale or production of recreational marijuana.
The same councilmembers, Anam Miah, Abu Musa, Saad Almasmari and Fadel Al-Marsoumi, have blocked the sale and production of medical marijuana.
The four councilmembers recently asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would allow Hamtramck to “opt out” of allowing recreational marijuana sales.
Without adopting that opt-out ordinance, the city could not prevent a certified sales outlet from operating.
Opposition to the sales came mostly from the Bengali and Yemeni communities. That opposition arrived late to the process of the city forming regulations on the sale and grow operations of medical marijuana.
A plan had been in the making for a few years.
No one on the council voiced any objections until members of the Bengali and Yemeni community jammed into council meetings and town hall meetings to oppose the adoption of an ordinance regulating marijuana sales and production.
Councilmembers were on the verge of adopting the ordinance, but quickly backed down when opposition arose.
City officials may want to pause, though, for a moment before proceeding.
According to a recent Detroit Free Press story, Michigan is now the second largest medical marijuana sales state in the country.
According to the Free Press, marijuana sales exceeded $42 million in the first four months since the first retail outlets began operation.
That sales amount generated over $3 million is sales tax to the state.
But the story also noted that it generated much more than that. According to a spokesman with the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the new industry means more jobs, as well as more investment in buildings.
If Hamtramck opts out of sales and allowing production/grow facilities, it will lose out on income taxes, job creation and economic investment, proponents here say.
Opponents say the money is not worth it because they believe marijuana outlets will attract crime, and that marijuana will get into the hands of minors.
There have been conflicting reports and studies on the link between crime and legal marijuana.
Those in favor of allowing the sale of legal marijuana point out that not only is the city losing out on an economic boost, local medical card holders are being forced to travel outside the city to make their purchase.
For some residents without transportation, this is an inconvenience.
Proponents also say marijuana sales pose no greater risk than party stores or pharmacies (which sell a variety of controlled substances).
There are about two dozen pharmacies in the Hamtramck area.
March 29, 2019