Warren city council rejects marijuana dispensary settlement

According to the majority of residents and city council members who spoke out at Tuesday's meeting, the marijuana settlement is not good for Warren. The settlement was denied by 5-2. 

"This is an economic time bomb," said Warren City Council Member Jonathan Lafferty. "As many of my colleagues pointed out in their letters this evening, you do not have to be an economic major to know that if you build too many stores all selling the same product in close proximity with one another, even the strongest among them, may not survive."

"The potential liability is in such numbers that we could be forced to access residents, it could be so high," said Council Member, Mindy Moore. "Other jurisdictions have had to do that. That scares me."

The decision all happened after the previous city council approved 15 out of 60 applications for marijuana dispensary licenses. 

The losing businesses filed a lawsuit, claiming it was a violation of the Open Meeting Act since the decision was made behind closed doors. 

A Macomb County Circuit Court Judge agreed. 

Negotiations led to a proposed consent agreement, which would grant licenses to build 28 businesses in predetermined locations. 

Rich Sulaka is the attorney for some of the plaintiff's. 

 "It's not as though the city would be getting 28 new 7 elevens," sulaka said. "It's akin to the city having 28 apple stores opened in the city of Warren. So it's a real coop for the city to take something that could have potentially caused residents tens of millions and turn it into a significant investment, especially in these economic times."

The proposed settlement would create 300 jobs with Warren residents getting first priority and pay at least $15.00 an hour, while shielding the city from tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits. 

"The reason why I support this is because instead of the city paying out more money, you're going to get money from this settlement," said Council Member Peter Massironi.