Shelby opts out of marijuana dispensaries.

December 10, 2018

Shelby opts out of marijuana dispensaries.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY – The Shelby Village Council voted unanimously Monday evening, Dec. 10, to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries in the village.

With the uncertainty of lame duck legislation at the state level, Village Administrator Robert Widigan advised the council to opt out for at least the time being.

After Michigan voters approved the legalization of marijuana in the midterm election last month, it is now up to individual community boards to determine if they want to allow marijuana to be sold at dispensaries in their municipalities.

The state legislature is considering implementing changes to the law passed by voters, including reducing the 10 percent in funding dispersed to local municipalities to 3 percent.

“How much you get is up in the air,” Widigan said regarding Senate Bill 1243’s proposed changes.

Many Oceana communities are looking to opt out, he said. “This is definitely temporary — you can opt in any time.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Councilman Jim Wyns. “We have to opt out now to protect the village’s money and reputation.”

“The council is trying to save money in lawsuits,” Wyns said. If the village doesn’t opt out quickly, a dispensary company could purchase property in the village. Then, if the village was to opt out after the property sale, a lawsuit could occur, Widigan explained.

“The village majority voted against marijuana, so they probably don’t want the business” said Councilman Bill Harris. “We need to be consistent with the electorate.”

Long-time Shelby resident and former nurse Paulette Zoulek spoke out against marijuana dispensaries. “I am strongly opposed. There are too many unknowns.”

The council approved a motion that adopts an ordinance to prohibit marijuana establishments in the village.

Village Administrator Rob Widigan provided further info regarding this topic:

“The recommendation at last night’s council meeting was not to opt out and forget about recreational marihuana. It was to opt out and wait until the State has their ducks in a row. After the State establishes rules regarding recreational marihuana (they have a year to do so), it will be brought back the Planning Commission and Council for further discussion, including citizen input.

There are two outstanding issues the State must first address before the Planning Commission and Council will discuss opting in or opting out:

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018 (“MRTMA”), became effective 10 days after the vote was certified, which will then allow individuals 21 years and older to grow, possess and use (within certain limits) marihuana. Recreational marihuana establishments, however, will need to be licensed to legally operate. Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) has 1 year from the effective date of the law to establish and promulgate rules, including a process to accept license applications, and to begin accepting license applications. There will, therefore, be some time of approximately one year, though perhaps sooner, between the effective date of the legislation and the legal opening of any marihuana establishments.

Furthermore, the legislature is taking up a raft of controversial bills in the current lame-duck session (the period between an election and the end of lawmakers’ terms). Senate Bill 1243 would ban home-grown marihuana and make other changes to the ballot proposal legalizing marihuana for recreational use. The bill would lower the excise tax on retail sales of weed from 10 percent to 3 percent and change how the tax revenue is distributed. It also gives a politically appointed licensing board the authority over business licenses.

Current Status: The Bill was introduced on Nov. 29th and assigned to the Senate Government Operations committee. It will need a ¾ supermajority vote in both the House of Representatives and Senate to pass.

As mentioned during last night’s meeting, a municipality may adopt an ordinance prohibiting recreational marihuana establishments at any time, and may amend or repeal an ordinance prohibiting recreational marihuana establishments to allow for and regulate such establishments at any time. In other words, a municipality may, generally, change its mind with respect to allowing recreational marihuana establishments.

Until Senate Bill 1243 is addressed; the State finalizes the rules and regulations for marihuana establishments under the Act; and Village administration and legal counsel has had time to review all aspects of the law, the Council decided to adopt an ordinance prohibiting marihuana establishments pursuant to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018.

Please watch the Oceana County Press for updates on this matter.”

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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