Downriver cities opt out, or wait and see after marijuana legalized

Photo by Sue Suchyta Riverview City Attorney Randall Pentiuk (left) explains the recreational marijuana sales opt-out prevision to City Councilmen Dean Workman and James Trombley, City Manager Doug Drysdale, Mayor Andrew Swift and Councilman Tom Coffey at a Nov. 5 study session prior to the opt-out vote at the city council meeting which followed.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Riverview City Attorney Randall Pentiuk (left) explains the recreational marijuana sales opt-out prevision to City Councilmen Dean Workman and James Trombley, City Manager Doug Drysdale, Mayor Andrew Swift and Councilman Tom Coffey at a Nov. 5 study session prior to the opt-out vote at the city council meeting which followed.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

DOWNRIVER – Many Downriver city councils have passed resolutions to opt out of having recreational marijuana shops within their cities, while others are studying the issue or are adopting a wait-and-see position.

Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Riverview and Trenton have passed resolutions which let the city opt out of allowing recreational marijuana shops within its borders, while Taylor and Wyandotte are in waiting mode.

Melvindale will revisit the issue in 2019, while Southgate will decide whether to extend it medical marijuana store ban to recreational sales as well.

The Allen Park City Council passed a resolution at its Oct. 23 meeting indicating it will neither license nor establish marijuana businesses or establishments within the city, anticipating that the state resolution legalizing recreational use of marijuana would pass.

Lincoln Park, which opted out of medical marijuana dispensaries in 2017, recently opted out of recreational marijuana shops as well.

Lincoln Park City Clerk Kerry Kehrer said only marijuana grow facilities located in the district zoned general industrial are allowed, following a special use approval granted by the city’s planning commission.

Lincoln Park City Manager Matt Coppler said that December 2017 is the last time the city council discussed recreational marijuana shops, at which time it decided to not opt in.

“I am sure there will be a discussion at some point once it is known how the state laws are written and what actions municipalities will have to take,” Coppler said.

Melvindale Mayor Stacy Bazman said a moratorium banning the sale of in the city is scheduled to expire at the end of 2018.

“I anticipate some upcoming workshops to discuss what direction we will be going in for 2019,” Bazman said.

The Riverview City Council voted Nov. 5 to opt out of selling recreational marijuana within the city limits. Mayor Andrew Swift said that was the same move the council made for medical marijuana in the past.

“It is my understanding that there is one dispensary within the city limits that was established before the new regulations were put in place,” Swift said.

Southgate Mayor Joseph Kuspa said the city had opted out of medical marijuana dispensaries in the past.

“The state of Michigan has not created or adopted the rules and regulations governing the retail components of the law yet, and it is my understanding that the law could take several months,” Kuspa said. “My administration will be discussing this topic with our city council once more is known so that we can make an informed decision. Our focus will be on the overall impact to the community and business districts.”

Karl Ziomek, Taylor director of Communication and Marketing, said the City Council had an informational meeting a month ago about a possible medical marijuana ordinance on which it was working.

“Given the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot, that seemed to be jumping the gun a little,” Ziomek said.

Taylor City Councilman Butch Ramik said he has recommendations about the recreational marijuana issue that he will bring to the council.

“Presently we are reviewing an ordinance presented to us by the city attorney in reference to medical marijuana,” Ramik said. “Now that the law has been passed, we will not only continue to discuss the medical portion but the recreational portion, also.”

Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack said the city has no medical marijuana dispensaries or grow centers, a resolution the City Council passed in January, with the exception of individual caregivers.

Wyandotte City Clerk Larry Stec said the City Council had chosen to take a wait-and-see approach.
“No action taken yet, and none that I see on the radar screen,” Stec said.

To see the wording of Proposal 1, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, go to ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Proposal_1,_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_(2018).

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)

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