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Detroit marijuana law is suspended over license fairness

June 17, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Thursday suspended a Detroit law that gives preferences to certain people who want to get into the marijuana business, based on years of residency and other factors.

The ordinance gives an “unfair, irrational and likely unconstitutional advantage” to some people over others, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said in granting an injunction.

Detroit has reserved some licenses for people who fit in certain categories. People who have lived in the city for 10 to 14 of the past 30 years must meet additional conditions, including a prior crime for a controlled substance or a parent who has a prior record.

Detroit said it wanted to help residents who have been affected by past criminalization of marijuana.

Crystal Lowe sued. She has lived in Detroit for 11 of the past 30 years but doesn’t have a marijuana conviction that would help her in the application process.

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The judge expressed concern about people who have lived in Detroit for less than 10 years but also have been burdened by a marijuana conviction. They don’t get a leg up.

“While there is no right to obtain a business license in the state of Michigan, there is a right to be considered for such a license in a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner,” Friedman said, citing a 1984 decision.