Detroit City Council Approves Moratorium on New Medical Cannabis Licenses

Detroit City Council Approves Moratorium on New Medical Cannabis Licenses

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Entrepreneurs hoping to open medical cannabis dispensaries in Detroit, Michigan, will have to put their plans on hold for the time being. On Feb. 13, 2018, the Detroit City Council voted to impose a 180-day moratorium on new medical cannabis licenses and permits.

The moratorium was passed in response to a slew of legal challenges and concerns regarding a pair of initiatives passed by voters this past November that were meant to ease local control on the city’s medical cannabis industry.

Under the initiatives, the Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals lost its authority to review dispensary applications and the city was no longer required to solicit public opinion or hold public hearings on proposed dispensary locations.

The initiatives also removed certain buffer zone requirements, allowing dispensaries to open within 500 feet of a religious institution or another dispensary, and removed the Detroit City Council’s oversight by opting into state licensing regulations.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Councilman James Tate is currently 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. “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.”

Once approved by Mayor Mike Duggan, the moratorium will take effect immediately.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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