STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township trustees on Tuesday agreed to postpone considering language to opt out of any marijuana ordinances.
The decision was made after no motion in support was made for an agenda item that sought to schedule a first read of opt-out language for the March board meeting.
Clerk Stacy Loar-Porter said she wanted to give planners some time to review the language before moving forward.
“I want to make sure we cover all of our bases,” Loar-Porter said. “I just want to make sure that we make this decision because of more than one reason. This shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction.”
Trustees previously held a joint meeting earlier this month with members of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.
The township’s attorney presented information on the recent legalization of recreational marijuana. Michigan’s new recreational marijuana law requires action by municipalities that do not want retail marijuana businesses in their town.
Several municipalities have turned to the Michigan Township Association, which published “blanket ordinances” for townships that wish to opt out.
While the recreational marijuana law requires municipalities to opt out if they don’t want the businesses, the medical marijuana law allows municipalities to opt out by doing nothing.
Trustees previously elected to take no action and not opt into a state law that would have allowed medical marijuana facilities in Lincoln Township’s jurisdiction.
According to survey results gathered by the township last year, 51 percent of responses were against allowing marijuana processors in the township and nearly 54 percent were against marijuana dispensaries. In November voters in Lincoln Township voted against Proposal 1. Residents voted against the measure 3,989 to 3,303.
With the survey and election results in mind, Trustee Rick Stone said he felt comfortable moving ahead with the opt-out ordinance.
“My opinion is this would be going against the voters of Lincoln Township and there’s no need to delay this any further,” Stone said.
Trustee Tom Norbey said he felt the board would be rushing their decision since the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has yet to implement the new licensing program.
LARA has about a year until it can begin issuing licenses for recreational marijuana-related businesses.
Trustees were given a litigation update on the litter and debris violation at 1473 Glenwood Drive in Lincoln Township.
Supervisor Dick Stauffer said the property is being foreclosed on, and that the township is in the midst of pursuing legal action against the absentee property owners. The board first agreed to pursue a civil lawsuit at its December board meeting.
However, Stauffer said circumstances might change depending on the outcome of the property’s auction.
If the bank were to buy it, Stauffer said they would be responsible for cleaning it up and making sure it is compliant with township ordinances. If a private party buys the property, the township would deal with them.
“I just wanted everyone to know this could very well start over again,” Stacy Loar-Porter said.
Trustee Marc Florian was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. on March 12 at Lincoln Township Hall.
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