6th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds City’s Denial of Cannabis Dispensary

This post is authored by Julie Tappendorf, Esq. of Ancel Glink originally appeared in the Municipal Minute and is reposted with permission.

The City of Detroit denied a permit application to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the City. The City based its decision on the location of the proposed dispensary, which would fall within the City’s “drug free zone” as established by the City Code. The City Code prohibits locating a medical marijuana facility “within 1,000 radial feet of the zoning lot” of certain sensitive places, including a school, and the City determined that the proposed facility would be within 1,000 feet of an existing school.

The operator sued, claiming the City violated its substantive due process and equal protection rights, arguing, among other things, that the City had allowed similar facilities within the drug free zone. The federal district court dismissed the case, and the operator appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the dismissal. The Court of Appeals rejected the operator’s claims that two identified facilities were “comparators” under an equal protection argument, and noted that there were a number of other facilities that had been denied permits for similar reasons that the City denied the operator’s permit.

Green Genie v. Detroit, 2023 WL 2582679 (6th CIR CA 3/21/2023)

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