Michigan Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Challenging Detroit’s Adult-Use Cannabis Laws

Two lawsuits challenging Detroit’s adult-use cannabis licensing ordinance were dismissed by a Michigan judge in Wayne County who said the city has provided a fair licensing process.

Full story after the jump.

A Wayne County, Michigan judge on Tuesday dismissed two lawsuits challenging Detroit’s adult-use cannabis licensing ordinance, the Detroit Free Press reports. While Wayne County Circuit Judge Leslie Kim Smith called the city’s ordinance “a complicated scheme,” she ruled it is “unambiguous and provides a fair licensing process” comporting with the mandates of the state’s legalization law. 

The ordinance was approved by the city in April but was challenged in two separate lawsuits. One brought by medical cannabis operators in Detroit asked the court to allow existing, licensed, medical cannabis companies to also receive adult-use licenses; while another, also brought by a currently-licensed medical cannabis firm operating in the city, asked the court to stop the licensing process altogether. In the latter lawsuit, Smith said there was no preference for social equity applicants because non-equity applicants may apply at the same time and that nothing in state law limits a municipality from developing its own criteria and scoring system for awarding cannabis licenses.

In the lawsuit asking that medical cannabis companies also receive adult-use licenses, Smith ruled that the plaintiffs were incorrect in their interpretation that the ordinance prevents them from applying for adult-use licenses until 2027.

Mike DiLauria, general counsel for House of Dank, one of the plaintiffs, told the Free Press that “there’s no doubt” they would appeal the ruling.

Detroit’s adult-use cannabis business ordinance sets aside half of the planned licenses for so-called equity applicants, which includes longtime Detroiters and people who live in communities where cannabis-related convictions are greater than the Michigan average.

John Roach, a spokesperson for the city of Detroit, told the Free Press that “the law department is reviewing the recent rulings and … will know more about the licensing process and application timeline in the next couple of days.”

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