Detroit issues moratorium on medical cannabis business permits

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(This story has been updated from an earlier version.)

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved another delay on the issuance of new medical marijuana business permits, a situation that has been contentious in the Motor City for years and which threatens the stability of the longstanding local MMJ industry.

The new 180-day moratorium on MMJ licenses comes about a month after the city decided to delay handing out permits due to a lawsuit, and according to the Detroit Free Press, City Councilman James Tate is drafting a new zoning and regulatory ordinance for cannabis companies.

This all comes in the wake of the 2017 municipal elections in which voters approved a pair of initiatives to roll back restrictive MMJ business zoning ordinances that had been approved by the city council, and which resulted in the closure of at least 186 dispensaries in Detroit.

The new moratorium also throws into doubt the business future of the roughly 60 dispensaries that are legally operating in Detroit, since the state is requiring all MMJ companies to apply for business permits by Feb. 15, the Free Press reported.

If those dispensaries don’t get their local paperwork in order, the state could force them to close, at least temporarily.

Also, at least 14 lawsuits have been filed against the city by MMJ businesses that are trying to force the city to grant them business permits under the new ordinances approved by voters last year, the Free Press reported.