Tyrone Township intends to add regulations to the municipality’s recreational marijuana ordinance that would ensure complete prohibition of related facilities throughout the entire community.

The Board of Trustees adopted an ordinance in December that allowed the municipality to “opt-out” of recreational marijuana-related establishments. While the regulatory ordinance is all-encompassing, officials felt there was a need to clarify that the businesses are not allowed in any area within municipality boundaries as well. Township leaders went to work on addressing the issue and are now proposing an amendment to their recreational marijuana ordinance that would explicitly state that the facilities are prohibited in all zoning districts.

Mark Meisel, Chairman of the township’s Planning Commission says, “You have regulatory (ordinances), which applies to everyone, and you have zoning, which applies to location and it also is not retroactive. Why do both? Because there was so much uncertainty about initiated law one… the thought was, until everybody understands this better, let’s enact a regulatory ordinance to prohibit things across the board and let’s reinforce that with zoning which effectively says if there’s no place to put it legally, it can’t exist.” He says by regulating the establishments based on location, the municipality can reinforce the prohibition with clear zoning standards.

Meisel did however note that the original ordinance that the Board of Trustees adopted in December is also necessary because zoning amendments are not applied retroactively adding, “In zoning, in almost all cases, anybody that is doing an activity that I now prohibit by enacting a zoning ordinance amendment or an ordinance in general, they are grandfathered. So, you have a cow. Cows can’t exist in that district. I’ve had a cow for 30 years. Guess what? I get to keep the cow but my neighbor can’t have one because they don’t have one right now.”

The township’s Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed amendments to the ordinance, but there were no community members in attendance that offered their personal opinion. Meisel wasn’t necessarily surprised though. He feels many understand that although the components of the ordinance are technically two different sets of regulations, it could be argued that they have the same effect, meaning the changes essentially only provide added protections. The amended ordinance will require consideration by the county and approval from the township’s Board of Trustees before it can be adopted.

Meisel says it’s been “interesting and challenging” for communities as they navigate the process to establishing their individual regulations while the state works to develop a regulatory framework for recreational marijuana. (DK)