Dispensaries:Detroit - Updated

In 2016 I photographed a small sampling of the many medical marijuana dispensaries that had opened up in brick and mortar locations within the city of Detroit. I presented them in an earlier blog post here, with the goal being a presentation that allowed comparison, and a review of the changes in the urban fabric of the city. 

This time I’ve gone back and photographed many of the same locations, roughly one year later. The original photographs were taken in September of 2016. This re-visiting was photographed in October of 2017. Quite a lot has changed. Ordinances in the city of Detroit have changed, and new rules are being enforced. Many dispensaries have closed all together. Others have toned down their signage and aesthetics. To me this illustrates two major points. The first is that policy matters. It’s our democracy at work, and it’s a tangible change in daily life. The second is a value call, related to goings-on in the city of Detroit, which historically has such high rates of vacancy in many places. It begs the question, “is it better for a space to be occupied by a dispensary, or by nothing?”

Regulations are continuing to evolve, on all levels, local, state, and federally. These places will change again, and new ones will open. There is high volatility. 

2016 is on the left. 2017 on the right…

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