Detroit sued over locals-preferred cannabis licensing rule

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An aspiring cannabis business owner who says she has lived in or around Detroit most of her life is suing the city for allegedly discriminating against marijuana business license applicants who don’t meet the definition of who qualifies as a resident.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court, according to Law360.

Plaintiff Crystal Lowe alleges in the lawsuit that the city’s licensing process gives preference to people who qualify under a Detroit Legacy stipulation.

According to Law360, to qualify as a Detroit Legacy, applicants must meet one of these conditions:

  • Resided 15 of the past 30 years in Detroit.
  • Resided 13 of the past 30 years in Detroit and qualify as low income.
  • Resided 10 of the past 30 years in Detroit and have a controlled-substance conviction or have a parent who had a controlled-substance conviction when the applicant was a child.

Under the regulations, Detroit is not allowed to award licenses to nonlegacy applicants if the result would be less than half of all total licenses going to legacy applicants.

Legacy applicants also get the first opportunity at licenses when the city begins receiving applications in April, the suit claims.

The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the legacy rules, Law360 reported.

When the city begins reviewing applications in May, only those from legacy applicants will be considered for the first month and a half.

The city then will consider applications from nonlegacy businesses that already have medical marijuana licenses, according to the suit.

That means applications from aspiring marijuana business owners who are nonlegacy and non-MMJ licensees will be reviewed only if there are any permits left, the suit says.