Council Member Advocates for Restrictions on Cannabis Billboards in Detroit

May 11th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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In an effort to regulate the prevalence of cannabis-related advertisements in Detroit, Council Member Angela Whitfield Calloway has initiated a proposal to cap the number of cannabis billboards within the city. The proposed measure, set to be introduced at the upcoming council meeting, will request the city's Legislative Policy Department to develop a report outlining potential restrictions on such billboards.

Calloway voiced her concerns regarding the proliferation of cannabis billboards, particularly criticizing the advertising tactics of the cannabis dispensary Leaf & Bud, operated by CEO Mark Savaya. A particular billboard near the Southfield Freeway on 8 Mile Road—prominently advertising "Free Weed"—has been singled out by Calloway as possibly violating local advertising ordinances. "I believe the 'weed, come and get it it's free' is violating ordinances. I'm not sure but I'm in conversations with an attorney," Calloway stated.

This initiative is supported by fellow council member Scott Benson, with whom Calloway is collaborating to draft an ordinance to potentially ban such signage. Referencing measures already adopted by other cities across the country, Calloway expressed optimism about similar regulations being implemented in Detroit: "So, if they can do it in other communities across the country, we can do it here in Detroit. And I am hopeful that what you see today, you will not see next year this time."

The issue of cannabis advertising has also resonated within the community, underscored by an 11-year-old's recent appearance before the council to discuss the impact of seeing numerous cannabis advertisements on his daily route to school.

Further elevating the concern over cannabis exposure among youth, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti reached out to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. In his letter, Vitti urged stronger regulations to curb the accessibility of marijuana edibles and vape pens to students, highlighting recurring incidents requiring medical intervention.

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