Lawsuit Filed Against Detroit for Revoking Cannabis Facility Approvals

November 30th, 2023 Business & Industry Ryan Spegal
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Four Detroit-based companies are challenging the city's decision to revoke their cannabis cultivation and processing facility's approvals, following a zoning map update that placed the facility in a drug-free zone. The lawsuit, recently transferred to the Eastern District of Michigan federal court, names Cannabis Professional Design LLC, MB City Transportation LLC, HZ Detroit Holdings 1 LLC, and HZ Detroit Holdings 2 LLC as plaintiffs.

The conflict arose when Detroit Community High School, operational since at least 2009 but not included in the former zoning map, appeared in the new zoning map. This inclusion led to the revocation of the companies' licenses and denial of business license applications. The plaintiffs argue that the city's Board of Zoning Appeals views drug-free zones as an absolute criterion, overriding prior approvals.

The lawsuit emphasizes that the city's action to revoke permits was inconsistent with its usual policy. Past instances of zoning violations by established marijuana businesses did not result in revocation. The companies contend that the city's decision was arbitrary and deprived them of a vested property interest.

The plaintiffs highlight the significant financial impact of the decision, with over $15 million invested in the facility and additional agreements worth more than $20 million potentially at risk. They had also hired over a dozen employees in anticipation of beginning operations.

The lawsuit seeks three forms of relief: a writ of mandus, declaratory relief, and a declaration that the property and facility's permits are valid and enforceable. The companies aim to reverse the revocation of special land use permits, certificates of occupancy, and building permits.

As of now, Eric Gaabo of the City of Detroit Law Department, representing the city, has not commented on the case. Christine Lynne Constantino of Scott F. Roberts Law PLC represents the four companies.

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