Detroit’s cannabis adult use sales ordinance continued to attract drama as a second lawsuit was filed, seeking to strike down the measure.
JARS Cannabis, a Michigan-based cannabis company with two medical dispensaries in Detroit and others across Michigan and Arizona, filed suit to have the ordinance tossed for impacting the viability of medical cannabis sales in city limits, as well as setting impractical rules, and creating an uncompetitive application process. Another suit was filed in May for similar reasons.
This is the city’s second attempt in drafting an adult use cannabis ordinance for permits in the city limits. The first was struck down by a federal judge in 2021, who ruled that the law provided unfair preference to Detroit residents, calling the ordinance more “protectionist than equitable.”
Detroit elected officials were dismayed by the court’s actions last year, as they claimed their ordinance was written to give hometown social equity applicants easier access to the industry. Without a leg up from the city, officials claimed, Black Detroiters and anyone affected by the War on Drugs would not have a fair shot at getting a cannabis business of their own.
[Read JARS Cannabis’ complaint.]
In the complaint, JARS claims that once adult use licenses are fully distributed, adult use businesses would outnumber medical facilities 6-1, creating a “death sentence” for medical provisioning centers. According to Detroit’s 2022 adult use sales ordinance, existing medical dispensaries would be barred from applying for a recreational license until 2027. Medical dispensary owners would also be barred from owning a Detroit-based adult use license at the same time as a medical license..
“it is abundantly clear that Detroit’s Second Ordinance serves as the kiss of-death for existing medical-marihuana facilities operating within the city of Detroit,” the lawsuit thundered.
JARS’ complaint also claims that the “Good Neighbor Plan” applicants are required to submit to obtain a Detroit adult use cannabis business permit is unrelated to the applicants’ ability to comply with Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA).
A “Good Neighbor Plan” could include measures such as mandatory hiring of Detroit residents, or donating a minimum of 750 hours of community service annually to a Detroit-based tax-exempt charitable organization, community organization, religious institution, a public or charter school, or block club.
The first lawsuit filed against the 2022 Detroit ordinance was led by dispensary chain House of Dank, along with three other medical dispensaries, Herbal Wellness, TJM Enterprises Services, and Detroit Natural Selections Enterprises, which claimed the law gives preferential treatment to new applicants and would harm their ability to operate in the city. The four dispensaries are represented by attorney Kevin M. Blair, who last year led the legal team that successfully sued the city to repeal its ordinance.
Earlier this month, a group of medical dispensary owners also unsuccessfully tried to create a November 2022 ballot initiative to remove the ordinance. After obtaining 3,867 signatures, the initiative petition was tossed out by the city’s Department of Elections last week for missing the filing deadline.