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Detroit medical marijuana businesses sue city over permit processing

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Neeta Lind
/
Flickr

Several medical marijuana businesses in Detroit are suing the city for failing to process permit applications. Attorney Michael Stein says he represents around 20 local medical marijuana businesses. He says he filed complaints on behalf of several clients Tuesday, asking the courts to force the city to issue decisions on the permit applications.

Stein says Detroit’s new medical marijuana ordinances are designed for businesses to get approval as long as they meet necessary requirements. He says several clients have submitted applications, only to have them ignored by city officials.

The state began accepting permit applications for medical marijuana facilities on December 15. Medical marijuana businesses that have already been operating can stay open while their state application is pending – as long as they receive local government approval and apply to the state by February 15.

Stein’s clients, medical marijuana businesses in Detroit, could be forced to shut down if their city permit applications aren’t approved in time for them to apply for a state license by the February deadline. Stein says Detroit’s refusal to process the applications is intended to force businesses to close.

“Detroit’s goal is to make it so nobody can get approval before February 15, so that nobody can stay open while their application to the state is pending,” Stein said.

Detroit city officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the Detroit Free Press, A memo issued by Detroit’s deputy corporation council Charles Raimi says the city is not processing applications while there is pending litigation regarding the city’s medical marijuana ordinances. The city’s website on Tuesday showed a message saying the city’s old ordinances had been fully repealed by new ordinances approved by voters last November. Stein says there are legal challenges to the new ordinances as well, but that Circuit Court Judge Robert Columbo denied injunctive relief last week – meaning the new ordinances should be in effect.

“Detroit, through their law department, is trying to subvert the will of the people, and the intent of the state of Michigan to allow these places to [continue to] operate,” Stein said.

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