City of Marquette begins discussion on potential sales of recreational marijuana

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Monday night, the Marquette City Commission discussed the future of recreational marijuana sales in the city. Community members filled the City Commission chambers for the work session, overwhelmingly in support of the city opting in, to allow legal sales of reactional marijuana in city limits.

"I think that we all deserve the safe regulated, taxed sale of the product," said Brooke Armstrong, and advocate for recreational marijuana sales.

The Commission made no decision, saying they only wanted to open the discussion at this time, and they were excited to have the public weighing in on this topic.

"I get stopped on the street every day and asked about this issue, so I think going forward it's important that we contribute to these discussions," said Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Reynolds.

Some commissioners were hesitant to support opting in at this time, a key reason being, if and when the state releases official regulations; any rules the city puts in place that don't adhere to state regulation would then have to be changed. Another fear was the loss of federal funding. Others believe the city could and should follow blueprints from states that have already legalized marijuana.

"I don't think we're having issues with children getting ahold of this kind of stuff, because we're doing it right and Colorado’s doing it right, and Canada is doing it right,” said Reynolds. “So I think we have to look at those places."

The deadline for the state government to pass regulations for cities who opt in is November. If nothing is passed then, the cities will follow their own regulations. Some commissioners weren't confident the state would meet that deadline.

"It's not that I think the state doesn't have the ability, but it did take 8 years for medical marijuana, so I do want to make sure that we're getting this stuff in place and ready," said Reynolds.

109th State House District Representative Sara Cambensy was there to discuss the state's role in passing regulations, and said, she is optimistic rules will be in place within the year.

"There's probably going to be a lot of communication going on between state members and our Attorney General's office, but again, this was something the voters wanted, and now it's up to us in Lansing to make it work,” said Cambensy.

The City Commission says they aren't going to rush anything, and encourage the public to come forward with ideas and suggestions for implementation.

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