With the boon of medical marijuana shops and hydroponic gardens, Detroit’s weed acceptance reaches a new high
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Most evenings, Richard Clement, also known as the weed warrior, is busy serving people who flock to a compassion club tucked in the shadow of Comerica Park in downtown Detroit.
As the club’s “bud tender,” it’s his job to ensure patients who gather around the bar or settle into a black L-sectional get their desired variety of medical cannabis to treat health conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, and other ailments that cause severe or chronic pain.
“Instead of making you a Bloody Mary or a rum and Coke, I’m picking out an OG Kush or Blue Dream, Mango Tango or Purple Haze mixed with God Bud. There are so many strains: Sour Diesel, Power 13, Obama Strain, the Alabama Thunder ‘F@#k,’” says the 55-year-old who also is a marijuana advocate and lobbyist. “I give them a jar and let them pick the strain. They know what they want.”
These days, it seems lots of people want marijuana, and that it’s everywhere—in news headlines, music, television shows such as Showtime’s “Weeds,” presidential politics, bestselling books, the Olympics and even the National Football League.
In separate incidents earlier this year, three rookie Detroit Lions players—Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath—were charged with possessing marijuana, and American judo fighter Nicholas Delpopolo was dismissed from the 2012 Summer Olympics games for testing positive for it. Three years ago, USA Swimming penalized most-decorated Olympian Michael Phelps after a photograph was released of the athlete smoking from a bong.
Here in Detroit, since the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act passed in 2009, it seems cannabis and its culture has gained a new level of prominence and stature.
Along well-traveled thoroughfares such as Eight Mile Road, a plethora of certification centers and hydroponic garden shops have popped up like dandelions. With abundant offerings for smokers such as Philly Blunts, Grape Cigarillos, Zig Zag rolling papers, and vaporizers readily available at convenience stores and smoke shops, there’s no doubt Detroit’s underground market also is thriving.
In November, Detroit voters will decide if city residents can legally possess an ounce of marijuana in their private homes—whether they are medically certified or not.