Legalized in Michigan: Manistee County officials weigh-in on recreational marijuana facilities

Thursday was the official first day for legalized recreational marijuana in the State of Michigan. (News Advocate File Photo)

Thursday was the official first day for legalized recreational marijuana in the State of Michigan. (News Advocate File Photo)

MANISTEE COUNTY — As of Thursday, Michigan was officially the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana.

Now, Michigan joins nearly a dozen states and the District of Columbia on the legalization of recreational marijuana; however, there are still steps ahead for recreational facilities.

The new law was approved with a yes vote of 5,938 to a 5,756 no vote in Manistee County during the Nov. 6 election.

Residents ages 21 and up can possess or transport up to 2.5 ounces (70.8 grams) of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants, which must be out of public view. It can be consumed only at homes or other private property, though landlords and employers are still able to prohibit it.

Marijuana will not be commercially available for sale for what could be at least two years from now. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working on developing rules and regulations to govern the recreational marijuana industry.

Since its approval in Michigan, many communities are left with questions about recreational facilities. Throughout the state, various communities are deciding to ban recreational marijuana facilities altogether — for many different reasons.

Within Manistee County plenty of talk has been surfacing around the issue.

The City of Manistee

In Manistee, city council decided on Nov. 27 to enter a moratorium for six months, which would allow further discussion on the issue.

Later on, council could decide whether to opt out or limit recreational marijuana facilities. The move also prevents interested parties from coming into the city with hopes of opening a recreational facility until a decision is met.

“Communities have to decide whether they want to remain in or whether they want to opt out,” said Thad Taylor, city manager, in a past interview. “If the governing body decides to opt out, the community can petition to override (it).

“We already opted into medical marijuana and allow all of the licenses except for the provisioning centers.”

Municipalities have several options when providing limitations for recreational facilities, whether restricting the number of licenses, deciding on the types of facilities allowed or limiting the facilities to specific zones. However, if no action is taken the municipality has already opted in.

If a municipality decides to opt out it does not impact an individual’s ability to grow, use or obtain recreational marijuana, within the law.

Filer Township

The Filer Township board held a meeting on Tuesday, introducing a motion to amend the Charter Township of Filer’s “Code of Ordinances” to add chapter 38, which defines certain words and phrases to prohibit marijuana establishments within the boundaries of the township.

It would also provide penalties for violations of this ordinance, and repeal all ordinances in conflict. All board members were in favor.

Terry Walker, Filer Township’s supervisor, said the township did not want to remain in on recreational facilities.

As far as medical marijuana, Filer Township currently does not have an ordinance allowing medical marijuana facilities within the township’s boundaries.

“At our board meeting we did realize an ordinance to the effect that we are not going to allow (recreational marijuana facilities) in the township,” said Walker. “We do not have anything on medical marijuana. With medical marijuana, we are of a little bit different of an opinion and have had some inquiries regarding medical marijuana grow facilities.”

Dickson Township

An upcoming meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Dickson Township to talk about recreational marijuana. A decision has not yet been made.

Meetings are held at 14270 Brethren Blvd. in Brethren. For further information call the township’s offices at (231) 477-5885.

Brown Township

Pamela Tompke, Brown Township’s clerk, said there are no plans to formally opt out of recreational marijuana at this time.

“It has not really been a hot topic of discussion, but at this moment we do not have any plans to opt out formally,” she said.

As far as medical marijuana facilities, Tompke said the Brown Township board is considering medical marijuana facilities; however, it was not specified which types of facilities would be allowed, if approved.

“We are just in the beginning stages of exploring our options for opting into the state for allowing medical facilities,” she said. “That of course would need an ordinance, as well.”

Tompke said the township is primarily waiting for the state to establish sound regulations on recreational marijuana licenses and facilities.

“As far as I know, there needs to be more clarification before townships can do anything besides opt out,” she said.

The Village of Kaleva

The next Kaleva Village Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 17. At that time, the council plans to talk about recreational marijuana facilities.

There is no indication of how the council will vote on the issue.

Meetings are held at the village offices at 9219 Aura St. in Kaleva. The village’s offices can be reached at (231) 362-3366.

Maple Grove Township

Since Proposal 1 was approved in Michigan, there has not been a formal conversation about recreational marijuana in Maple Grove Township, said Wayne Beldo, township supervisor.

“We are going to take it up at our board meeting,” Beldo said.

A meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, in which the board plans to talk about the issue. Meetings are held at the township’s offices at 9213 Aura St. in Kaleva.

“I am not exactly sure what we are going to do about it,” Beldo said. “Right now doing ordinances and stuff like that, we do not have the ability for that. We are going to look into it.”

The township’s offices can be reached at (231) 362-3825.

Norman Township

Richard Mobley, Norman Township supervisor, said the conversation around recreational marijuana facilities has been initiated, but the board has not made a final decision.

“We have talked a little bit, but we have not made any decisions on it,” Mobley said. “Right now, what are the rules? Nobody really knows. That’s our problem.”

The board plans to either opt out or possibly take a moratorium, until the rules are further established. It was not specified when this decision would occur.

“My personal feelings are that we’re probably going to opt out right now of doing anything, until those rules are more clear,” he said. “We are looking to wait until we know what they actually are.”

For more information call the township’s offices at (231) 848-4564.

Marilla Township

David Barrett, Marilla Township’s supervisor, said there still needs to be more talk around recreational facilities with the Marilla Township board.

“We are just now getting started on what we are going to do,” Barrett said.

Barrett said the board could talk about the issue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, when the next meeting is scheduled.

He said, so far, the township is considering remaining in and allowing recreational facilities of some type. However, there has not been an offical decision.

“There’s a possibility it could be brought up at that meeting,” Barrett said. “We want to put an ordinance in place, because there are people interested in recreational marijuana.

“We have not done medical marijuana yet either, but that is a possibility. It’s all up to individuals themselves on what happens.”

Meetings are held at the township hall located at 9991 Marilla Road in Copemish. The township’s offices can be reached at (231) 362-3555.

Officials from Arcadia, Bear Lake, Cleon, Manistee, Onekama, Pleasanton, Stronach, and Springdale townships were contacted, but did not respond. Officials from the Village of Bear Lake, Village of Eastlake, Village of Onekama and Village of Copemish also did not respond.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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