Recreational marijuana-related facilities will not be prohibited in Putnam Township, following a board vote to opt out of such establishments.

The township’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously last Monday night to opt out of recreational marijuana facilities, joining the Village of Pinckney, which was the first municipality in the county to opt out. The City of Howell is also considering an ordinance to opt out, which they will vote on at their December 3rd meeting. Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan says there are several factors that contributed to the board’s decision; one being the commercial enterprises that accompany legalization, noting it’s not about the use of marijuana, but instead the establishments that would arise in the community.

He adds that the law does not allow a municipality to regulate what types of licenses that can be issued, only the number of licenses. As an agricultural community, Brennan says officials might consider allowing a grow operation if they were allowed to opt in for just that type of license, but they can’t choose which licenses to allow. Brennan says no one on the board would ever agree to allow a dispensary in the township, so if they don’t want a dispensary, they would have to opt out of everything. If the municipality were to opt in, there is also the potential they township could be challenged on why they only allowed a certain number of licenses and where they were prohibited. Brennan says attorney costs are not something the township can afford.

Brennan says he’s also noticed community members’ comments on social media that generally say the communities that opt out of recreational marijuana facilities are missing out on revenue. But Brennan says it’s a lot more complicated than that. The state must first collect the amount of money it takes to cover the cost of implementation, enforcement and administration of the law. The FDA then collects the first $20 million from the state through 2022. The municipality can then receive up to 15% of what is left, which won’t be until 2022 at the earliest.

Brennan says all of that information led to the board’s decision. Communities that do choose to opt out have the option to reverse their decision at any time. (DK)