Two medical cannabis companies are suing the city of Miami, Florida over their refusal to allow dispensaries, the Miami Herald reports. The city has neither created zoning laws to restrict cannabis businesses nor outright banned them, instead relying on an internal legal opinion that argues the voter-approved reforms are moot because federal law schedules cannabis as a controlled substance with no medicinal value.
MRC44, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, has been trying to open a dispensary in the city since 2019. Miami officials, citing the city attorney’s opinion, have denied the company a certificate of use for the project; however, the city zoning board has sided with the company in their appeal prompting city administrators to challenge the decision with the Miami City Commission, the report says.
MRC44 is joined in the lawsuit by another, unnamed firm and the companies claim they have the right to open anywhere in the city without municipal permits because of Miami’s lack of medical cannabis ordinances.
City Attorney Victoria Méndez, who wrote the legal opinion declaring federal law supersedes the state constitutional amendment, said the city would address the lawsuit in court after city commissioners instructed her to seek declaratory action from the judge to settle the issue of state versus federal law.
“I feel that there’s a discrepancy or a conflict between state and federal law, and I just want to ask a court of law to opine on that.” – Méndez to the commission via the Herald
Attorney Ian Bacheikov, who represents medical cannabis businesses on land use issues, told the Herald that state law requires that dispensaries are treated the “same way” pharmacies are treated but officials are “saying dispensaries are something else and they are not permitted.”
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