TRAVERSE CITY — Marijuana retailers looking to get into adult use sales in Traverse City are pushing back against the city’s motion to dismiss their lawsuit that’s currently holding up ordinances to issue licenses.

Attorneys for the city argue the case, which challenges the ordinance’s limit of four adult use retailers and the scoring rubric that would be used to license them, as moot. That’s because the city’s already working to amend the ordinance. That’s likely what a judge would order anyway even if the suit’s successful, according to arguments from the city.

But the ordinance isn’t gone, and the ad hoc committee working on rewriting it doesn’t have a draft yet, according to a response from Joslin Monahan, an attorney representing one of four businesses in the case.

Mike DiLaura is chief of corporate operations and general counsel for House of Dank, under which plaintiff SecureCann is doing business. He was confident 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power won’t throw out the case when he hears the motion Monday.

“Ultimately the case is not over,” he said. “There are a number of claims the judge has not ruled on in any way, shape or form. That’s crucial, I think, to getting an idea of what happens next in the city.”

One unresolved issue is whether the city’s limit of four adult use, commonly known as recreational, cannabis retailers, versus 12 for medical marijuana, violates state law, DiLaura said.

He argued a section of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act that bars any local jurisdiction from stopping the co-location of businesses means those license limits must match.

That’s not how city Attorney Lauren Trible-Laucht sees it. She said she believes the law is clear that Traverse City’s differing limit on licenses for each type of retailer is perfectly legal.

She was also confident that Power will agree there’s no point in continuing the case, at least for now.

“I mean it’s obvious that the city commission intends to more or less totally revamp that ordinance, so we’re really litigating about an ordinance that is not going to exist in the form that it’s in now,” she said.

Members of the ad hoc recently asked city staff to present a draft, and asked for more input from city Police Chief Jeffrey O’Brien and city Planner Shawn Winter, Trible-Laucht said.

“So they’re definitely working diligently on the changes that the city commission has asked them to consider to bring back,” she said.

DiLaura said he attended a recent ad hoc meeting and said their meeting doesn’t mean the plaintiffs should simply trust them to address their concerns.

“Their argument to dismiss the lawsuit despite there being no resolution between the parties, that kind of lacks credibility to me,” he said.

Meanwhile, the licensing ordinance remains on ice after Power issued an injunction in November 2020 preventing the city from issuing any licenses through it, as previously reported. He agreed there’s reason to question whether the original scoring rubric was based on determining which applicant was best qualified to follow state law.

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