Michigan Township Seeks Dismissal of Cannabis Dispensary Lawsuit

April 12th, 2024 Legal & Crime
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A Michigan township is currently seeking to have a federal court dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of cannabis entrepreneurs and local developers, who allege that town officials have obstructed their efforts to establish a cannabis dispensary. The township argues that the federal court lacks the necessary jurisdiction to hear the case.

The lawsuit, initiated by the group Citizens of Lima for Cannabis in March, accuses the township's board of trustees of engaging in a prolonged effort to prevent the opening of a dispensary, despite apparent support from a majority of Lima residents. According to the complaint, this obstruction has resulted in the loss of potential tax revenues estimated between $28,000 and $59,000, based on the financial experiences of other Michigan towns since 2021.

In their motion to dismiss, the township's trustees contend that the lawsuit primarily cites violations of state law, rather than federal law, thus falling outside the purview of federal jurisdiction. They argue that of the three claims presented—violation of a writ of mandamus, civil conspiracy, and a due process violation—only the due process claim tangentially references federal law. This claim involves the trustees’ refusal to place an initiative on the 2023 ballot, allegedly rejecting signatures on the grounds that they were collected on the incorrect size of paper. However, the complaint frames this as a violation of the Michigan Constitution, not as a breach of the Fourteenth Amendment or under 42 USC Section 1983, which deals with civil rights violations.

The trustees further state that the lawsuit does not assert diversity of jurisdiction—a condition that could have allowed for federal oversight if the plaintiffs were from different states than the municipality.

Given these arguments, the township asserts that the federal court should dismiss the case as it lacks the requisite subject matter jurisdiction to proceed. The court's decision on this matter is pending.

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