“The meetings did not even attempt to comply with the Open Meetings Act”
Fifteen marijuana businesses hoping to open dispensaries in Warren have been dealt a severe blow following a judge’s order to revoke their licenses.
In a ruling issued Tuesday, Macomb County Circuit Judge Carl Marlinga said the city’s Medical Marihuana Review Committee, which evaluated and scored the applications for dispensary licenses from more than five dozen companies last year, violated Michigan Open Meetings Act in multiple ways and on numerous occasions.
The marijuana review board committee held 16 secret, closed-door sessions from March through July 2019.
“The meetings did not even attempt to comply with the Open Meetings Act. The Marijuana Review Committee did not begin these meetings with an open session; it did not then announce the purposes for going into closed session; it did not then return to conduct the balance of the meeting in open session; it did not allow for public comment; and it did not keep minutes of what occurred in the closed session,” Marlinga said in his written opinion.
“This review committee was exercising a critical governmental function in narrowing down the number of applicants to those it believed were most worthy. Because that was the governmental function given them by the ordinance, the public had a right to be there and see the process as it happened,” the judge wrote.
“The old saying that ‘It’s hard to do dark things in bright places’ applies here,” Marlinga said.
Marlinga ruled the committee’s scoring and ranking of applications be vacated and invalidated, and that the City Council’s granting last October of medical marijuana dispensary licenses to the 15 applicants with the highest compiled scores are invalid and are no longer in effect.
None of the 15 companies that were awarded a dispensary license have opened yet.
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