Holly Village Council's Marijuana Retail Licensing Decision Upheld in Court

December 20th, 2023 Business & Industry
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In June 2022, Holly Village Council authorized two marijuana retail licenses following a rigorous selection process, with The Brand Labs and Lume Cannabis Co. emerging as the successful applicants. This decision was grounded in the strict adherence to the 11 criteria outlined in Ordinance 468, which guides the village council's licensing decisions. During the council meeting, a roll call vote was conducted, wherein each council member announced their top two choices, leading to The Brand Labs and Lume Cannabis Co. being the top contenders, receiving six and four votes respectively.

Had there been a tie, the tied applicants would have been invited to present their cases in further detail at a subsequent council meeting. The locations for these new businesses were also confirmed, with The Brand Labs set to occupy a former auto dealership building near the Dollar General Store, and Lume Cannabis Co. opening its doors on Grange Hall Road.

However, the licensing process faced legal scrutiny when Green Stones, Inc., an unsuccessful applicant, filed a complaint in the Oakland County Circuit Court. The complaint alleged that Holly Village Clerk Deborah Bigger and the council engaged in a non-transparent and subjective selection process, contrary to the requirements of the ordinance. Green Stones sought a Writ of Mandamus, compelling the council to reevaluate its application in line with the ordinance.

The complaint listed several counts, including a petition for Writ of Mandamus, superintending control, violations of due process and equal protection of the law, and a request for injunctive relief. After a series of legal deliberations, the court sided with the defendants on the first two counts and noted ongoing negotiations regarding the remaining issues. The court found the application process to be aligned with the government's legitimate purpose of licensing a marijuana retail facility and did not find evidence of arbitrary council actions or disparate treatment.

The request for injunctive relief was also dismissed, as Green Stones failed to establish viable legal claims against the defendants. Finally, on December 8th, the court ordered the dismissal of the case. The legal proceedings incurred a total cost of $6,641 to Holly Village, as reported by Village Manager Jerry Walker.

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