TRAVERSE CITY — New provisional licenses for medical marijuana retailers in Traverse City are on hold indefinitely.
City commissioners agreed Monday to continue the pause they placed in April. Now, instead of a Dec. 31 sunset date, the hold will continue until city commissioners opt to end it and direct the city clerk to start issuing them again.
The move comes as a handful of marijuana businesses challenge the city’s rules for the industry in court, including one objecting to the original pause.
Green Stem LLC was next in line if one of the 13 businesses to receive a medical cannabis retail license didn’t open, as previously reported. The company filed suit after city leaders stopped issuing them — 13th Circuit Court records show a settlement conference is set for Jan. 8.
Another business, Leoni Wellness LLC, got a preliminary injunction against the city’s recently passed rules for competitively awarding recreational marijuana retail and microbusiness licenses, and is one of two arguing the rules are illegal.
Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe asked if Monday’s move wasn’t in response to the court order.
City Attorney Lauren Trible Laucht said that order affected recreational marijuana retail rules, not medical, as Monday’s action did.
“However, they are interrelated, because we don’t know for sure at this time whether all medical facilities will be allowed to operate automatically as recreational,” she said.
The question factors heavily into Leoni Wellness LLC’s challenge and that of SecureCann Inc, both of which made similar arguments that the city capping recreational retail at four licenses versus 13 for medical is a de-facto ban on allowing the two types of retailers to share space — state law prohibits such bans.
Both cases are proceeding in 13th Circuit Court, records show, and another is in the works.