Marijuana in Detroit – Chaos on Chaos

Go Lean Caribbean

Recreational Marijuana use became legal in the US State of Michigan on December 1, 2019.

Ouch! This brings so much chaos to the fore!

We have spent a lot of time observing-and-reporting on the metropolitan area of Detroit and the State of Michigan in general. Now, we come back here to observe-and-report on this new change: legalization of recreational Marijuana use – the nearby City of Ann Arbor is in fact the first to launch this new allowance. It turns out that we are not the only ones observing-and-reporting; other stakeholders in the State are doing the same as well; see here:

There were plenty of people around the state who had Ann Arbor envy, with news reports of hundreds of people lined up to buy adult-use marijuana.

It turns out that the Marijuana eco-system brings chaos. If the community is already chaotic, then that disposition is heightened, intensified and exacerbated. This summary is highlighted in this “Feature News” article here which relates to the adoption of Recreational Marijuana on top of the existing Medical Marijuana eco-system:

Title: Michigan’s new pot industry has some green with envy — though there are still kinks to work out

Higher Ground readers know that Detroit City Council opted out of adult-use marijuana until at least Jan. 31. Councilman James Tate told Metro Times said that it was because Council was working to put together a good social equity program. Social equity is called for in the law that legalized marijuana in order to promote participation in the business from communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. Tate didn’t talk about any proposed details of that program.

“I believe the city’s dilemma is more available space — the restrictions on what can be and where it can be,” says Joe White, director of Detroit NORML. “They need to expand the available space.”

When Council adopted zoning ordinances for where there could be a provisioning center, the result was almost nowhere. Now much of the available space has been taken by medical marijuana provisioning centers. There are no social-equity provisions in the medical marijuana law, and any marijuana arrests from the past disqualified one from getting a provisioning center license. On top of that, the state is only taking adult-use marijuana applications from already established medical marijuana provisioning centers.

That leaves the social equity Detroiters out in the cold as far as retail storefronts. Licenses for micro-businesses will be available, but where will they go? According to city zoning as it stands, nowhere within 1,000 feet of a school, church, daycare center or park. That’s in addition to some other rules about industrial and main street areas.

“If there are only 100 chickens available and 75 are sold, what the hell are we going to do?” says White. “If they’re going to do the right thing, they’re going to have to open up more available space.”

That’s got to be complicated. It took a long, long time to come up with the medical marijuana zoning rules we have now. It involved protests, petitions, an election, and lawsuits as provisioning centers fought it out with city officials. I remember sitting at a City Planning Commission meeting one time and asking the city employee who had just done an informational presentation if we were going to have to go through this again when we get recreational marijuana. He said yes.

If he was right, then buckle up for another roller-coaster ride of a process. Hopefully, this time around Council has a better handle on how to get this done. According to Tate, Council has already got past issues with the conservative church crowd. However, it looks like they’ll have to undo a bit of what they did before in order to open this up for more Detroiters.

Pending legislation to expunge the records of some folks with marijuana convictions opens up opportunities that weren’t available when this legalization thing started. Generally, these are the folks with experience in the marijuana business, and the social-equity provisions give them some advantages for legal re-entry into the business. And this isn’t just about Detroit; there are 41 Michigan social-equity communities listed on the MRA website.

Ann Arbor envy
There were plenty of people around the state who had Ann Arbor envy in their hearts, with news reports of hundreds of people lined up to buy adult-use marijuana when sales began last week. That envy was high among provisioning center owners who have been struggling to get by financially. Those retail outlets collected a reported $221,000 in marijuana sales on Dec. 1. There literally were not enough hours in the day to sell marijuana to all the people who wanted to buy some on the historic first day of sales.

Watching coverage of Ann Arbor’s festive opening day, River Rouge-based Herbology Cannabis Co. owner Tarek Jawad felt hopeful. “I can’t wait to be a part of it,” he said.

Jawad says that he’s been pre-approved for an adult-use license at one of his locations and expects to have one any day now. He admits that, financially, things have been “tight for the most part” for the past couple of years, so the bump of adult-use sales will make a difference.

Anqunette Sarfoh, co-owner of BotaniQ provisioning center in Detroit, had an emotional response. “I was so jealous,” she says. “It would have been cool to be a part of history, but if it’s going to be anywhere, it should be in Ann Arbor. And how poetic to have John Sinclair buying joints 50 years after he was busted for [having] them. You can’t make that stuff up.”

The way that Opening Day was decided and announced probably caught some provisioning centers off guard. The prevailing wisdom was that the first day of sales would be in 2020, but the Marijuana Regulatory Agency surprised most of us with the Dec. 1 decision just a few weeks before it happened. Even if state regulators had been able to get licenses out, the retailers didn’t have much time to prepare.

“We weren’t really focused on the recreational, so it didn’t concern us,” says Amy Jackson, a receptionist at The Reef in Detroit. “It’s kind of disappointing, but we couldn’t be ready by December 1.”

Another irony
Just to be clear: Because he doesn’t have a state license to do so, John Sinclair could still be busted for selling joints today. This license thing is kind of weird because that’s kind of how prohibition started, with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. It didn’t make marijuana illegal, but it imposed serious taxes ($1 per ounce in 1937) and required anyone selling marijuana to acquire a federal tax stamp. It also required anyone paying the tax to “register his name or style and his place or places of business with the collector of the district in which such place or places of business are located.” One had to tell the government what you had, how much you had, and where you got it.

The Marijuana Tax Act was later replaced in 1971 by the Controlled Substances Act. However, it’s kind of funny that taxation was used to make marijuana illegal. Now taxation is a big part of the drive to legalize marijuana. Stuff just keeps coming back around dressed up all different.

By the way, that $1 per ounce tax in 1937 is equal to about $18 in today’s money. For comparison, a top-shelf medical flower such as GMO costs $380 per ounce at The Reef in Detroit. The 6 percent state sales tax on that brings the total price to $402.80. That’s a total of $22.80 in taxes, more than the rate that was set by the Marihuana Tax Act. Every provisioning center or retail store will charge the state sales tax.

It’s a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.



Source: Posted Detroit’s Metro Times December 11, 2019; retrieved December 16, 2019 from:

In our observation and reporting, chaos goes hand-in-hand with Detroit – and the surrounding areas – under normal circumstances; see the following list of previous blog-commentaries from the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean; this is before the heightened, intensified and exacerbated effects of adult-use / recreational marijuana: JPMorganChase valiant efforts to save Detroit May Day! May Day! Detroit Needs Help With Jobs! Lessons Learned: Detroit demolishes thousands of abandoned structures An Ode to Detroit – Good Luck on Trade! Beware of Vulture Capitalists – Lesson from Detroit Detroit giving schools their ‘Worst Shot’ Flint, Michigan – A Cautionary Tale on Infrastructure Secrecy, corruption and ‘conflicts of interest’ pervade state governments De-icing Detroit’s Winter Roads: Impetuous & Short Term NEXUS Model: Facilitating Detroit-Windsor Cross-Border Commerce M-1 Rail: Finally, Alternative Motion in the Motor City Detroit finally exited their historic bankruptcy Michigan Unemployment – Then and Now

The Caribbean member-states model the Detroit Metro area in so many aspects: economic chaos, security deficiencies, abandonment and municipal dysfunction. This sad reality – managing a Failed-State or a Failed-City – was actualized in our tour of Detroit. It is hard to reboot, recover and turn-around such a society. Now, their community stewards have to throw in the prospects of a liberal drug culture, this heightens, intensifies and exacerbates the challenge even more. See this recent study that was published about Marijuana usage and Psychosis:

VIDEOMarijuana use and psychosis, new study associates usage with health risks

Published on Mar 25, 2019 – Weed use is taking off as more states move to legalize it. Despite the buzz over marijuana, there are some severe health risks linked with frequent use.

 Yet, this is the reality that many people in the Caribbean seem to want to invite, as we have previously reported how many advocates in local Caribbean communities seem to want to legalized – or de-criminalized – Marijuana use for adults, here as well. See these previous submissions here: Jamaican-American (Pot-Smoker) Kamala Harris Runs for US Presidency Counter-culture: Pushing for Change in Marijuana Acceptance Managing Mental Health in the Caribbean – Marijuana Use Intensity Managing this ‘Change’ in California for Recreational Marijuana Lessons from Colorado: Legalized Marijuana – Heavy-lifting! The Emergence of ‘Big Pot’ in America Marijuana in Jamaica – Puff Peace

The eco-system around Marijuana use is not purely an economic equation; it also addresses security concerns, medical needs, and the Mental Health eco-system.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean (Page 36), posits that the Mental Health eco-system in the Caribbean region must be improved and elevated to better facilitate the needs of the people in our communities, for our normal everyday circumstances – for the pursuit of happiness. Further, it is the assertion that no one member-state in the Caribbean is equipped to handle the Mental Health challenges when a liberal Marijuana policy is added – albeit for adult use.


Ouch again, when we add the touristic elements! (Imagine visitors coming just to consume Marijuana).

In truth, we are not currently ready for this.

As related above, the Mental Health eco-system must be optimized to address the needs of all the people all the time; no one is spared from Mental Health challenges; consider these everyday realities:

  • Bereavement
  • Post-Partum Depression (for new mothers)
  • Post Trauma Stress Disorder
  • Drug Abuse and Alcohol Counseling
  • Suicide Prevention

Caribbean stewards have to do some heavy-lifting to address the Mental Health needs of our society. No one should invite more chaos to an already chaotic situation; this is what a legal Marijuana eco-system brings: Chaos.

The Go Lean book provides a roadmap for Caribbean stakeholders to do better; it details 370-pages of turn-by-turn directions to better optimize the societal engines of economics, security and governance. First, we must come together and confederate, then we can organize, consolidate, streamline and empower the relevant agencies so as to better deliver on the implied Social Contract …

… where citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights.

All segments of the population need support with their Mental Health concerns; we strongly urge the governing stakeholders to slow down with any social evolution regarding Marijuana; we must get our house in order first; we must empower our economic engines, and our security apparatus, and our governing models, and our Mental Health deliveries.

Only then can our homeland be a better place to live, work and play. We urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

ix. Whereas the realities of healthcare and an aging population cannot be ignored and cannot be afforded without some advanced mitigation, the Federation must arrange for health plans to consolidate premiums of both healthy and sickly people across the wider base of the entire Caribbean population. The mitigation should extend further to disease management, wellness, mental health, obesity and smoking cessation programs. The Federation must proactively anticipate the demand and supply of organ transplantation as developing countries are often exploited by richer neighbors for illicit organ trade.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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