At least 148 marijuana dispensaries operate in Detroit, most of which are near the suburbs, according to an exhaustive study by Loveland Technologies, a local research and mapping group that provides detailed information about every parcel in the city.
The survey found that 100 of the 148 dispensaries are located within 1.5 miles of the city’s suburbs.
“High concentrations of marijuana dispensaries are located close to the suburbs, particularly Grosse Pointe Park, Eastpointe, Warren, Southfield and Dearborn,” the report states.
At Ford High School in northwest Detroit, for example, two dispensaries are within 1,000 feet, and 14 are “in the immediate vicinity of the school, mostly along the major commercial corridors.”
A bulk of the dispensaries are on 8 Mile, 7 Mile, Grand River and Gratiot.
“Dispensaries range from heavily advertised, with neon signs and advertisements, to low-profile offices with no outward indication of what is being sold there,” the report states. “Bank buildings, restaurants, storefronts, strip clubs, gas stations and residential houses have been converted into dispensaries.”
Seven drive-thru dispensaries were found, but only two appeared to be in operation.
Dispensaries have been largely unregulated since voters approved the use of medicinal cannabis in 2008. About 96,000 people are registered to consume marijuana for medical reasons, but the law has been unclear about the legality of dispensaries.
“The potential financial benefits that come with regulating those business must be blanked against the sociological consequences of their trade, especially in such close proximity to schools,” the report concluded.
The city of Detroit is considering a plan to regulate the dispensaries.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.