Pat Beggan

Michigan Communities Begin Banning Cannabis Production After Legalization

Many Michigan communities are opting out of allowing cannabis facilities after this month’s legalization vote, according to The Detroit News.

Michigan towns like Monroe and Portage as well as Detroit-area communities like Pinckney and Troy have told their residents they will opt out of allowing commercial cannabis production there. Monroe has already passed an ordinance forbidding the industry — the day before the vote, in fact.

Plenty more are expected to follow — notably, when Colorado legalized in 2014, 75 percent of communities opted out of allowing commercial production.

Some have debated how long the Michigan communities have to opt out and what recourse voters may have to organize a response to a local government’s decision. Michigan’s adult-use cannabis law indicates, for instance, voters can collect signatures to get the matter on the ballot of the “next regular election.” Differing opinions about when exactly the “next regular election,” however, began almost immediately to crop up.

“There’s definitely been a lot of questions and some of the answer is ‘Well, we think this is what it meant, but until it’s litigated, we won’t know for sure.’” —Jennifer Rigertink of the Michigan Municipal League, via The Detroit News

Josh Hovey, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, said any communities that wish to opt out should do so before the state begins issuing licenses, expected within the next year.

While the law allows communities to completely opt out, it also allows them to permit commercial operations with restrictions, as long as they don’t conflict with state law and aren’t “unreasonably impractical.” With that in mind, some officials from towns that are moving to opt-out indicate they may opt back in at a future time when Michigan’s legal market is more established.

Michigan is asking communities that opt out to inform the state’s cannabis licensing body so that application processing is not slowed.

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Authored By

Patrick Beggan is a writer and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. After serving as a US Army medic, he developed a passion for natural and herbal medicine that led him to the West coast. As a photographer, he strives to capture mood & narrative simultaneously to create images that speak volumes.

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