Lincoln Twp. opts out of recreational marijuana

STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township finally opted out of recreational marijuana retail sales Tuesday.

Trustees adopted an ordinance to opt out of the recently passed recreational marijuana law during Tuesday’s board meeting after months of discussions, public hearings, surveys and presentations.

“The resolution to do this is really in line with what the residents wanted,” Supervisor Dick Stauffer said after Tuesday’s meeting. “Residents have shown up here in support of opting out of recreational marijuana and that’s how we have responded.”

The sentiment among board members the past few months has been to opt out until the state comes up with regulations, in which case the township could revisit the subject if needed.

Trustees held their first reading of the ordinance last month.

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.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has yet to implement the new licensing program, and has less than a year until it can begin issuing licenses for recreational marijuana-related businesses.

After voting in favor of opting out, Trustee Tom Norbey said he wanted the ordinance to be sent to the township’s Planning Commission so it could develop a plan for when LARA issues these regulations.

The marijuana ordinance has been an ongoing discussion among Lincoln trustees, who agreed to postpone the ordinance’s consideration in February after an argument was made to give the township’s planners time to review the ordinance language.

However, planners could not send the board a recommendation in March, citing a lack of guidelines and restrictions from the state.

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 by a tally of 3,989 to 3,303.

Trustee Marc Florian was absent from Tuesday’s board meeting. The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. on May 14 at Lincoln Township Hall.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski