Marquette works towards marijuana ordinance

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette City Commission has had two meetings regarding making adult use marijuana legal in Marquette. Currently, the City of Marquette has no plans to limit the number of recreational marijuana establishments in the draft ordinance discussed at a recent meeting.

The poll of 800 registered likely voters shows 67 percent supporting legal marijuana for adults. (MGN)

"There are approximately eight types of different licenses that the state is creating for this. And, so it's hard to say, I think that the market of the number of different establishments can support businesses, and their customers are going to figure that out,” said Jenn Hill, Marquette City Commissioner.

Back in February, commissioners decided to opt out of recreational marijuana sales because not all the state rules were clear.

"The city opted out like a lot of communities did because the rules aren't clear at all. This is an unusual situation where we are taking something that had been illegal and making it legal,” said Hill.

The legalization of marijuana was based not on a law through the legislature, but on a popular vote.

"I think waiting was the smart thing to do, because what if we would have come up with something that didn't fit in the state laws? We were going to have to change it anyway,” continued Hill.

The state laws requires that an establishment must have preexisting medical marijuana licenses in order to operate an adult use marijuana establishment, at least through the end of 2020.

"There are people who want to sell organic product. They want it to be clean, they want that to be labeled. We heard that very clearly in the city commission meetings,” Hill said.

The law also limits marijuana businesses such as growing, processing, and testing to areas zoned for industrial use. Other marijuana businesses can't be located within 500 feet of schools. Marquette's planning commission will soon decide if they want to expand that limitation to include day cares and rehabilitation sites. Other locations may be considered, as well.

"Planning commission is doing the nitty gritty work of determining those changes and how these have to be made. The city commission is doing the legislative action to make it all work together,” said Marquette Mayor, Fred Stonehouse.

The commission meeting draft ordinance reading will be held on Monday, September 30, with a second reading of the ordinance in October. Commissioners hope to have the ordinance finalized in December, however, that could be pushed because the planning commission process may take several months.

"The goal here is always to get to the best document we can have, that serves the interests of our citizens,” said Mayor Stonehouse.

Once the ordinance is in place, commissioners plan to revisit it in a year to adjust accordingly.

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