Judge Rules Against Pot Dispensary In Suit Against Village Of Pinckney
April 15, 2022
By Jessica Mathews / email@example.com
The Village of Pinckney has prevailed in a lawsuit that alleged residency discrimination in marijuana licensing criteria.
Attitude Wellness, also known as Lume, alleged that they should have been awarded the Village’s sole retail license and that the rubric used by the village to score applicants violated various commerce laws and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act or MRTMA.
The Village awarded the retail license to The Means Project LLC after a lengthy process based on a rubric to determine suitability - which included sections on application completeness, business plan, environmental plans, owner residency, and use of vacant or blighted buildings, among other criteria.
Attitude Wellness scored last of three applications being considered, lacking points in local business owner residency, environmental plan, and use of a vacant or blighted building.
U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin A Drain disagreed with the arguments presented by Attitude Wellness and ruled in favor of the Village of Pinckney and The Means Project LLC, which intervened in the case as an affected party. A press release states that Judge Drain pointed out that even if the Village dropped the residency points, Attitude Wellness would not have overtaken the application submitted by The Means Project LLC.
Judge Drain’s ruling states, in part: “Without a viable MRTMA claim, Lume’s case goes up in smoke… No matter how much the Matrix runs afoul to the dormant Commerce Clause, no viable claim exists because Lume failed to obtain enough lawful points under the Matrix.”
Village President Rebecca Foster said it’s a bit of a victory for small communities and small business. She said Attitude Wellness is a large corporation with multiple retail locations, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best fit.
Foster said they are very happy with the outcome of the case and the confirmation that local units can craft marijuana application scoring rubrics using criteria important to the community - and that this does not, as Attitude Wellness argued, violate MRTMA.
The ruling was said to be an even bigger victory for The Means Project, which has been working steadily at rehabbing the former Pinckney Elementary that had fallen into significant disrepair and blight. Foster said they are now free to move forward as quickly as they can without the court case hanging over the process.
Judge Drain’s complete order and opinion are attached. Pictured is the approved project and rendering for The Means.