Our Take on Marijuana Establishments
Townships, cities, and villages across Michigan are in decision-making mode, following the November 6th statewide vote to legalize recreational marijuana. Unless these municipalities explicitly state otherwise, marijuana establishments will be permitted in their boundaries. (These decisions have nothing at all to do with the personal use of marijuana; only with the related establishments). Entire counties may not make such a decision; it must be made at the township, city, or village level. To date in Midland County, the City of Coleman and the townships of Jerome and Ingersoll have already “opted out.”
On February 4th, the City of Midland City Council received the first reading of an “opt out” ordinance. The second reading came at their February 18th meeting, and the Midland Business Alliance weighed in, speaking in support of the ordinance. We pointed to the original concerns outlined in our October 2018 resolution, which opposed Proposal 1: (1) recreational use of marijuana & its derivatives is illegal under federal law; (2) passage of the Proposal would create unknowns and increased complexity, cost, and risk around workforce and workplace issues, for business of all sizes & sectors; and (3) our members consistently express concerns over recruiting and retaining high-quality and prepared individuals for their workforce. We had those concerns back in October, and these concerns are still very much alive today.
The City Council ultimately voted 5—0 to adopt the ordinance. Keep in mind that Michigan’s Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA) department has a year to develop countless rules for licensing, investigation, and enforcement of laws for growers, processors, transporters, retailers, safety compliance facilities, and microbusinesses all related to recreational marijuana. Kudos to the Midland City Council for adopting the ordinance. We will keep a close eye on LARA’s work in this area.