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Detroit’s Marijuana Ordinance Irrational and Unfair Says Federal Judge

Detroit’s Marijuana Ordinance Irrational and Unfair Says Federal Judge

By Gurneel

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman on Thursday claims Detroit’s marijuana ordinance unfair, and unconstitutional. Statement halts the processing of marijuana for recreational purpose in the city.

Unfair advantage to Detroit long term residents says, Judge Bernard Friedman

The injunction came after three months of a lawsuit filed by 33-year-old Crystal Lowe against the city’s ordinance relating to license for recreational marijuana.  Friedman issued a 19-page preliminary injunction stating that the process of obtaining a retail license for recreational marijuana gives an unfair advantage to long-term Detroit residents over all other applicants. Further, he added that Lowe produced evidence that shows the likelihood of the ordinance being discriminating against applicants who had not lived in Detroit for at least 10-15 of the past 30 years.  Consequently, it has violated the fundamental right to inter-and intrastate travel and impeded interstate commerce. Besides, he stated that the challenged provisions do not relate to the stated purpose for rectifying the ill effects of the war on drugs by the city residents.

Kim Rustem, the city's director of the Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity said on the judgement that the city staff is reviewing the order. Also, they are developing a revised plan to address the judge’s concern. Further, he clarified that there no new recreational licenses will be issued unless legal assurance is available.

The Ordinance

The City Council in November unanimously passed the ordinance, giving a special preference to residents of the city under certification called "Detroit Legacy." However, the residents could only qualify for the certificate if they have lived in Detroit for 15 of the past 30 years. They could also qualify if they belong to the low-income category and have live in the city for 13 of the past 30 years or resided in the city for 10 years and have a past marijuana-related conviction.

In addition, the legacy also provided land at 25% of the fair market value in the city with application fees of just 1%.

In all, the lawsuit has put a temporary halt to the licencing process which could have opened employment and business opportunities to the city residents.


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