Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has released emergency rules for the issuance of Adult-Use marijuana licenses; however an official with the City of Howell says such businesses wouldn’t be making their way to the municipality anytime soon, even if the City permitted it.

Tim Schmitt, Community Development Director for the City, recently provided a marijuana regulatory update to City Council, following LARA’s release of the guidelines in early July. Schmitt says LARA has held a number of informational sessions throughout the State to try and answer some questions and, although they are not answering any legal type questions or anything zoning related, they have been able to clarify how they are approaching things. Some noteworthy points within the guidelines are that the State will be allowing, subject to specific approval, transfers of medical marijuana to the adult use side of a licensee’s business. This is said to be a major change from what has previously occurred, but it is intended to address potential shortages of product in the adult use market.

The State has also addressed how they will react to local ordinances, which includes no regulations regarding odor in their licensing as they are leaving the matter to local municipalities to address; however it is currently unclear if locals can address the issue of odor. In December, the City of Howell adopted an ordinance prohibiting both medical and recreational marijuana facilities in the municipality.

Schmitt says that even if officials decided to permit such facilities, they wouldn’t receive applications for quite some time adding, "...even if you repealed the ordinance right now you wouldn't see a marijuana business in Howell for two-and-a-half years because the first round of licenses for recreational are only going to businesses and people that have previously gone through the full vetting process for the medical license, or they fall under one of the 15 areas of social justice that they are enacting as part of the recreational ordinance. We are not part of that."

Schmitt noted City staff has continued to receive numerous calls, more so after the emergency rules were enacted, inquiring about opening in Howell. He told council that if they are interested in modifying the current prohibition, they should begin work on such an ordinance in the near term, or it will be awhile before they are prepared to rescind the prohibition. (DK)