Detroit City Council Passes 180-Day Moratorium on New MMJ Dispensaries

Detroit, Michigan’s City Council has passed a 180-day moratorium on new medical cannabis licenses and permits, the Detroit Free Press reports. Councilman James Tate, who drafted the resolution, said the moratorium is due to two voter-approved measures meant to relax the city’s industry regulations that, he says, violate the state laws.

“This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law. This is what has created this situation … (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong.” – Tate to the City Council, via the Free Press

The initiatives, which were approved by about 60 percent of the city’s voters last year, eliminate the Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals’ authority to review dispensary applications and allows dispensaries to open 500 feet from one another and religious institutions. They also eliminated the requirement that the city hold public hearings and solicit public comments on dispensary proposals.

“The initiatives contained impermissible zoning provisions and have been legally challenged in the Wayne County Circuit Court. The law department believes that the initiatives will be declared void in whole or part.” – Tate, in a Feb. 8 memo to the City Council, via the Free Press

The lawsuit Tate is referring to is brought by 10 canna-businesses who were denied medical cannabis permits under the old rules. The suit claims that because of that previous denial, they were unfairly disqualified under the new regime.

The moratorium will take effect once signed by Mayor Mike Duggan.

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