- Defend Warren
Michigan's third-largest city is opting out of allowing recreational cannabis sales, for now — and they did it in the most confusing way possible.
Seriously... are we high?
We're talking about Warren, where City Council considered a deal on Tuesday that would settle more than a dozen lawsuits and allow for 28 recreational marijuana dispensaries to move forward.
At issue was a licensing process in 2019 that a Macomb County judge ruled violated the Open Meetings Act because it was not open to public view. There were also concerns that the proposed dispensaries would be located in residential areas or near schools, parks, libraries, and churches — inspiring a Defend Warren anti-weed billboard campaign.
The settlement addressed the concerns, calling for the dispensaries to be placed in industrial or commercial zones. Attorneys and officials said the deal would result in a $70 million investment in the city, creating at least 300 jobs for Warren residents that will pay at least $15 per hour. The license applicants also pledged to give back to the community in other ways, such as donating to local charities.
Even Mayor Jim Fouts, who had previously opposed allowing marijuana dispensaries, was on board.
Last month, when City Council voted 5-2 to reject the settlement, Fouts vetoed the vote, saying he worried that the city would go bankrupt if it loses an appeal related to the litigation. The city already lost a case in court earlier this year, and then engaged in months of mediation that resulted in the proposed settlement, which council rejected.
But Tuesday's meeting shook out in such a confusing way that we're left scratching our heads wondering what the hell just happened.
City Council unanimously chose to ignore Fouts's veto, calling it "fake," the Detroit Free Press reports — effectively opting Warren out of recreational marijuana businesses.
But the book isn't completely shut on rec weed in Warren, though. A recreational marijuana ordinance is expected to be introduced in January.
Once the ordinance is in place, council can vote to opt back in. So we'll see.
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