Detroit issues moratorium on new medical marijuana licenses


The legalization of recreational marijuana in several states is quickly approaching and will likely occur in 2018. Video provided by TheStreet. Newslook

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Medical-marijuana samples at 420 Dank, a medical dispensary, in Detroit. (Photo: Salwan Georges, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved a 180-day moratorium on new medical marijuana permits and licenses, citing ongoing legal challenges and concerns raised about two voter-approved initiatives that were set to relax local control this year.

Councilman James Tate, who drafted the resolution with the city’s law department, said in a Feb. 8 memo obtained by the Free Press that he’s also working to develop new ordinances that would “regulate both licensing and zoning for medical marijuana facilities and medical marijuana caregiver centers.” 

“This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law,” Tate said before council Tuesday. “This is what has created this situation … (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong.”

The moratorium, according to the resolution, will become effective once it is approved by Mayor Mike Duggan.

The initiatives eliminate the authority of the city Board of Zoning Appeals to review dispensary applications; allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary; allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of religious institutions, and eliminate the requirement that the city hold public hearings and solicit public comment on proposals to open dispensaries. 

In addition, they establish a process for licensing dispensaries that bypasses the Detroit City Council and opts into the licensing regulations issued by the state.

About 60% of voters approved

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