The Yemeni American News
Dearborn City Council has postponed voting on a proposal to ban recreational marijuana businesses from the city.
City officials said they tabled the resolution to listen to the opinion of residents and gather input that would help them meet the needs and concerns of the community.
A proposal to legalize weed was backed comfortably by Michigan voters last month. In Dearborn, it passed narrowly although Arab Americans largely opposed the legalization at the polls.
The city hosted a town hall to listen to residents’ take on the issue on 11 December.
The well attended meeting lasted for two hours with dozens of citizens expressing their opinions on the matter. Opponents of the ban highlighted potential tax revenues and cited medical research about the possible benefits of marijuana. They argued that alcohol is more harmful than weed, and it is readily available and consumed by young people.
Those in favor of the ban spoke of the danger of marijuana to children and the city’s family-oriented culture. They also said that dispensaries would bring down the value of properties around them.
Council members put the proposal forward quickly after the elections. Dearborn officials say they wanted to let people know if the city was going to ban weed businesses before potential investors put money into such ventures, including buying shops.
Proposal 1, which legalized weed, gives municipalities the option to regulate marijuana businesses, including the option to “opt out” of allowing dispensaries.
“The Dearborn City Council was on its way to passing an ordinance that would ban marijuana establishments from operating within the city,” the city said in a statement.
“However, the City Council decided to not take any further action on its proposed ordinance until it could gather more input from the public.”
Even if Dearborn ends up banning marijuana establishments, consuming, possessing or growing weed would still be legal within city limits, as long as the conduct complies with state laws and restrictions.
The city cannot ban or criminalize marijuana itself; it only has control over its sale inside its borders.
Dearborn Police Chief stressed that while the people of Michigan have voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, adults have a “grave responsibility” to make sure that children are not exposed to the drug.
“Adults can do what they want and what they think is best, but historically drug addition and use of alcohol and marijuana is getting to a younger and younger age, so my advice would be, be responsible with marijuana just like you are with alcohol, and even more so,” Haddad told the Yemeni American News.
The legalization of marijuana does not mean that driving while high is now legal, Haddad warned.
He said his officers will detect and penalize those drivers intoxicated by weed.
“People that drive under the influence of marijuana will be detected also, just like drunk driving, there is a different sobriety test that will given, and ultimately a blood test may be given,” he said.
“We will be on the lookout for anybody who drives who appears impaired and our officers are going to be trained further on how to detect that.”
While stressing that the decision is in the hand of the city, Haddad shared his opinion on whether Dearborn should allow recreational marijuana facilities.
“I would ask the city to opt out for 18 months to 2 years and ask other cities who have been somewhat responsible and successful.”
The chief called for gathering the facts before making a decision. He also urged taking into consideration the business aspect of the situation.
“We have a business sector that has come back from one of the greatest depressions of all time in our lifetime. We want to make sure that what we do is a wise business decision for the city of Dearborn,” he said.