Detroit city cannabis ordinance(s) likely unconstitutional, federal judge says

The Detroit New writes

Detroit — A federal judge Thursday said the city’s marijuana ordinance gave “likely unconstitutional” advantages to long-time Detroit residents and temporarily blocked the city from processing applications for recreational marijuana licenses.

The opinion by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman and a preliminary injunction comes three months after resident Crystal Lowe sued the city, arguing a new city ordinance regulating licensing for recreational marijuana shops was unfair.

Mayor Mike Duggan, with Councilman James Tate, talks about the ordinance for Detroit Medical Marijuana facilities and Adult-Use Marijuana establishments in October.

Lowe argued the city “has almost certainly denied” her chances to obtain a license because the city’s “licensing scheme favors certain Detroit residents over other Michiganders based on the duration of their residency” there. The ordinance gives preferential treatment to “legacy” residents of Detroit who have lived in the city for at least 10 years.

In a 19-page opinion Thursday, Friedman issued a preliminary injunction “because the city ordinance governing the process for obtaining a recreational marijuana retail license gives an unfair, irrational, and likely unconstitutional advantage to long-term Detroit residents over all other applicants.”

City staff are reviewing the judge’s order and developing “a revised plan to address the judge’s concerns,” Kim Rustem, the city’s director of the department of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity said in a statement Thursday.

“In the meantime, one thing is for certain: The city will not issue any recreational licenses unless there is legal assurance that Detroiters will receive a fair share of those licenses,” Rustem added.

Lowe’s lawyers also could not be reached for comment.



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