Detroit — Hundreds have made a bid to legally operate medical marijuana centers in Detroit and now the city is making it easier for the public to see where.

Detroit on Tuesday announced it’s launched an interactive map showing the locations and business names of centers in the city. The color-coded map, to be updated each Monday afternoon, specifies whether a shop has been shuttered, approved or if it remains in the approval process.

The site also allows for residents to anonymously report concerns associated with any of the shops, said David Bell, director of the city’s Building Safety, Engineering & Environmental Department.

“We’ve heard the community’s concerns, we’ve heard their complaints and now we’ve got a new tool where they can see exactly what’s going on in their neighborhood,” Bell told The Detroit News.

Detroit’s City Council adopted a strict set of zoning and licensing requirements in 2015 that went into effect last March. That’s when all shops — existing and new — seeking to operate lawfully were required to apply online, submit plans, meet rules and obtain licensing, or face closure.

As of Tuesday, 261 applications had been received by the city and three shops have earned all approvals to legally operate. Bell said he expects final approvals for several others in the coming weeks.

According to the map, there are 120 shops in the application process and, of those, 61 are operating in the meantime. Additionally, 161 other shops have been shut down.

Voters in 2012 approved the regulated permitting and licensing of the substance for medicinal use.

There were 283 dispensaries throughout Detroit when it began accepting applications under the new laws on March 1, 2016.

The shops were provided a 30-day window to submit applications before enforcement officially began. The operators who failed to do so have priority list for closure, city officials have said.

The city ordinances have cleared the way for the city to shut down so-called pot shops failing to seek compliance or dispensing medical marijuana in zones prohibited under federal, state and city statutes.

The federal Drug Free School Zone Act prevents marijuana from being delivered, sold or manufactured within 1,000 feet of a school. State law also factors in libraries. The city’s zoning regulations cover educational institutions and goes beyond that, prohibiting shops from operating near child care centers, arcades and outdoor recreation facilities.

Under city ordinance, centers must operate in heavily commercial or industrial areas and are barred from locating in neighborhoods. Detroit’s zoning legislation will permit about 50 shops overall.

Bell said he expects the new online map will help curb the number of shops opening without seeking proper approvals.

“I believe this website will help let these folks know that you can’t keep opening up businesses like this and not think that we’re not going to do something about it,” he said. “We are going to address it.”


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