Warren OKs dispensary licenses despite controversy, lawsuits – C&G Newspapers

License applicants, attorneys and other interested parties move to take photos of the final list of provisioning center license applicants scored by Warren’s Medical Marihuana Review Committee on Oct. 7.


WARREN — Legal battles and political intrigue will linger on, but a batch of up to 15 medical marijuana dispensaries are now closer to opening their doors in the city of Warren.

After months of hearings with dozens of license applicants, weeks of court proceedings stemming from court challenges, and allegations about a controversial review and scoring process that some claimed was “tainted,” City Council members voted 5-2 Oct. 8 to approve the licensing recommendations of the city’s Medical Marihuana Review Committee.

The vote came just hours after a Macomb County Circuit Court judge lifted a restraining order that barred the city from taking action to approve licenses. The order was put in place after a lawsuit filed by one of the applicants, Pure Roots LLC, questioned the scoring process utilized by City Councilman Ronald Papandrea, who sits on the review committee with fellow council members Cecil St. Pierre and Steven Warner, Warren Public Service Director Richard Sabaugh and City Attorney Ethan Vinson. Councilman Robert Boccomino serves as an alternate.

The committee was established by the council as part of an ordinance adopted to govern the licensing process for medical marijuana facilities.

At issue in the lawsuit was the scoring system used by Papandrea, who told the court he essentially used a pass/fail system that effectively weighted certain criteria, including location, more than others. According to the ordinance, 17 criteria were to be scored from zero to 10, with zero equaling a lack of compliance and 10 exceeding requirements.

Papandrea’s controversial scoring methodology came to light after representatives of Pure Roots produced audio recorded during

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