Michigan marijuana proposals: Majority receive approval, other communities say no

Posted at 10:51 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 23:12:48-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Seven communities in Southeast Michigan will most likely be seeing more cannabis retailers pop up after Tuesday’s election where many communities voted in favor of marijuana proposals.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2018, but it's up to each town to determine whether it wants to allow and regulate or prohibit marijuana businesses.

For companies like Cloud Cannabis in Detroit, the approval of these proposals is fantastic news. The co-owner told 7 Action News he’s been closely watching the initiatives and will now be looking to add his dispensaries in the communities affected.

“Really, we got into the cannabis industry to find a more approachable option for the cannabis-curious or new cannabis consumers to the market in Michigan, so that they can experience the same healing that I did with cannabis,” co-owner John McLeod said.

Cloud Cannabis has eight storefronts across Michigan. McLeod says their rapid growth all started because of a work-related injury he sustained in 2009.

He was prescribed opioids from the pain which, as he says, turned him into a "terrible person," until he tried something greener.

“So I was led to cannabis as a natural healing alternative and like that, flipped a switch and was just right for me,” McLeod said.

Now he says he’s passionate about creating more dispensaries in the state. He’s had his eyes on 12 ordinances in Southeast Michigan that would approve a certain number of marijuana retailers.

“I think it’s good for those local people that they won’t have to drive so far to go to other shops to purchase their cannabis,” McLeod said.

Of the 12 communities, seven, including Auburn Hills and Belleville voted to allow a certain number of marijuana retailers. Five communities, including Clarkston and Lathrup Village voted to not allow marijuana retailers.

We went out to one of the communities, Royal Oak Township and conducted our own poll.

“Long as our laws are being followed when it comes to buying or purchasing it, I feel like it’s OK,” one person we spoke with said.

Another resident told us she would say no in her neighborhood.

Corey Hodge, another resident, said. “I think it would be positive. The good outweighs the bad with it.”

Financially, there are pros to adding a dispensary to a community. At the beginning of the year, certain Michigan communities received more than $56,000 for every licensed retail store in their jurisdiction.

However, there are also potential negative side effects. A recent study conducted at the University of Colorado Denver shows that neighborhoods with dispensaries saw increased crime rates that were between 26% and 1,452% higher. But it also found the crime rate weakened significantly over time.

McLeod says he’s aware of both arguments, but for him, it’s just about creating access for those who may need it.

“For access for consumers, I think it’s huge because right now, this is a legal industry in the state of Michigan, yet so many people in these communities are underserved or not served at all with cannabis retail,” McLeod said.