Michigan town opts out of marijuana businesses

Recreational marijuana may have been approved by voters in Michigan, but you may have trouble finding it.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 11:44 PM

NILES, Mich. (WSBT) Recreational marijuana may have been approved by voters in Michigan, but you may have trouble finding it.

A local community has banned recreational marijuana from being sold inside city limits and it's not the only city taking these steps.

Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Michigan, sometime around the new year, but that doesn’t mean it can be sold everywhere.

Individual cities, like Niles, can decide for themselves if they’re going to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries within their city limits.

The Niles City Council voted five to three to ban recreational marijuana from being sold inside city limits Monday night. A decision met with a lot of opinions on both sides.

“I don’t think it would be a very good idea if they just put it out there across the board," said Sonya Phillips, Niles resident. "There should be some things in place to make sure while it’s legalized, that it’s being used for the correct purpose."

“Yeah, they have it everywhere else, so why not here?" said Robert Glass, Niles resident. "What’s wrong with here. I don’t see nothing wrong with it."

While the ordinance prevents selling recreational marijuana in Niles, City Administrator Richard Huff said they could always vote to allow marijuana sales down the road.

“The vote was really about creating a time period where the city council could study it further, hear more comments from our local constituents and make an informed decision about where to go for recreational marijuana,” said Huff.

Huff said there are too many questions that haven’t been answered by the state, such as how many recreational dispensaries will be allowed per city.

“I think the difficulty comes in as a municipality,” said Huff. “Understanding what the law is, what kind of legal challenges there is going to be over the next year, waiting for the state to issue the rules for the law.”

He said they are taking their cues from other states that have legalized pot.

“I’ve never heard from any other managers in Colorado that say just go for it, and let it rip so to speak,” said Huff. “It’s always word of caution, move slowly.”

Niles isn’t the only city making these decisions.

The commission in Saint Joseph voted in favor of a similar ordinance Monday night.

Now you might be wondering -- if this is legal in the state how certain cities can opt out? Well, the law approved by Michigan voters does give local jurisdictions the option of exempting themselves from the law.

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