Detroit's legal cannabis industry can finally move forward after years of waiting to receive recreational marijuana licenses for dispensaries, consumption lounges and microbusinesses after a federal judge denied a request in a lawsuit that would have stopped the licensing process.U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who had called Detroit's first attempt at a recreational marijuana ordinance "likely unconstitutional," denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against the city's ordinance filed in September which argued that the Detroit cannaibs ordinance gave unfair preference to longtime city residents. "When I looked at the first ordinance, the Lowe case, it didn't take much to look at it and it just screamed 'constitutional violation,'" Friedman said at the motion hearing Wednesday in Detroit, reported the Detroit Free Press. "There's no question about it.
When I looked at this (ordinance), it didn't."The decision clears the way for Detroit to finally begin issuing limited recreational marijuana licenses. John Roach, a spokesperson for the city, said Detroit's office of marijuana ventures and entrepreneurship would provide additional information Thursday.What HappenedSeveral medical marijuana business owners had filed lawsuits against the City of Detroit in May to allow existing medical dispensaries to receive recreational sales licenses. In April, Detroit's City Council passed an ordinance allowing sales of adult-use cannabis to begin, after months of delays.Current CaseThe plaintiffs include a prospective Detroit marijuana business owner and two cannabis companies with operations in Detroit who sued because they said they are unlikely to get a license in the city because the ordinance favors longtime Detroiters.Social Equity ApplicantsThe revised ordinance sets aside half of all the limited licenses for "equity applicants." Equity applicants include people who live in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. Equity applicants also include those with certified Detroit Legacy status currently living in Detroit or another disproportionately impacted community.Christine Constantino, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the city of Detroit has "artfully disguised its preference (for longtime Detroits to be awarded the licenses) now in equity."Friedman, though, said there's nothing wrong with workarounds.
"This one does not yell at me, 'Hey, there's a constitutional violation or anything of that nature.'"