The city of Detroit may face a slew of new lawsuits, as medical marijuana dispensaries without permits are forced to shut down.
The state sent to cease and desist letters to 211 medical marijuana dispensaries last week. 161 are in Detroit. The reason: those establishments failed to get local permits before the Feb. 15 deadline to apply for state licenses.
But a “significant handful” of those Detroit dispensaries are not fly-by-night operations flouting the rules, says Michael Stein, an attorney representing some marijuana dispensaries. Instead, Stein says they were stuck in the middle of Detroit’s permitting process.
“Detroit has a significant amount of dispensary businesses that should be allowed to stay open because they’re going through the process,” Stein said.
“Those are not bad actors. Those are people who are not open illegally. They’re businesses that simply have not had time to complete the process to get their application into the state by the Feb. 15 deadline.”
Stein says some of those dispensaries had conditional approvals from the city when the state deadline rolled around, but couldn’t apply for state licenses because they didn’t get a chance to get a final decision from Detroit’s zoning board.
“They just haven’t had an opportunity to complete the process. Their failure to complete the process has nothing to do with them. It simply has to do with the city of Detroit’s scheduling,” argued Stein, who calls Detroit’s permitting process “punitive.”
Ironically, Stein says some dispensary clients that were denied by the city’s zoning board were actually able to apply for state licenses because they were on record with pending appeals.
But now that all other non-permitted dispensaries have been forced to close, Stein says those caught in the permitting process have no recourse except suing the city.
“The only other option that these