Detroit freezes medical marijuana business licensing process

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Detroit is delaying action on new medical marijuana licenses because of a pending lawsuit, prompting fears that about 60 dispensaries in the city will have to close their doors.

The lawsuit was filed by seven to 10 businesses that were denied medical marijuana dispensary licenses over zoning issues, the Detroit Free Press reported. The businesses say the city denied the licenses using outdated zoning rules.

A lawyer for the city wrote in a memo to other Detroit officials that it would be “wasteful and confusing to the public” to process marijuana applications until the lawsuit its resolved.

But Michigan has set a Feb. 15 deadline for prospective MMJ companies to apply for business licenses.

The application period began Dec. 15 for companies seeking licenses for dispensaries, cultivators, processors, transporters and testing labs.

If Detroit won’t accept applications, the dispensaries currently doing business under an old city ordinance would have to close by Feb. 15, according to the Free Press.

Detroit marijuana business owners suspect the city is stalling.

“Their plan all along was to not take the applications so no one could stay open,” Michael Stein, attorney for the businesses challenging their denials, told the newspaper.

Detroit voters decided last year to roll back restrictive zoning ordinances blamed for the closure of at least 186 dispensaries.