An ordinance will be up for consideration next month that would prohibit marijuana facilities in the City of Howell, following voters’ decision earlier this month to legalize recreational marijuana in the State of Michigan.

The city opted-out of medical marijuana facilities after medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan ten years ago, however an ordinance has been introduced that would allow the city to opt out of recreational marijuana facilities as well. Howell City Council will consider adopting the ordinance at their December 3rd meeting. The city does have the option to reverse their decision at any time.

City Manager Shea Charles says the ordinance is a pre-emptive step as city officials wait for the state to develop and finalize regulations, noting that there are a couple of legal opinions on when a community should take this step. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, is the entity responsible for developing guidelines surrounding the production and sale of recreational marijuana. If regulations have not been established before December 6th, 2019, local governments will have complete control over how the facilities are regulated in their municipality.

Charles says several other local communities have already opted out of recreational marijuana facilities and many are considering the decision to do so as well. The move to prohibit the facilities is technically a decision to err on the side of caution, as recreational marijuana facilities cannot submit an application for their establishment to the state until 12 months from the effective date of the initiated law, which will be mid-November of 2019.

Some communities have cited the state’s slow approach to developing regulations for medical marijuana as their reason for taking the cautionary step against recreational marijuana. (DK)