A meeting of the minds

Lincoln Charter Township Municipal Building

STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township trustees agreed to schedule a joint meeting to discuss marijuana ordinances.

Lincoln trustees sought information from the township attorney at Tuesday’s meeting. The attorney  recommended a joint meeting with planners so that all municipal bodies are on the same page.

Supervisor Dick Stauffer said he invited the chairs of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals to take part in the meeting.

The meeting, open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the township hall.

Township Attorney Scott Dienes agreed to present 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. 

Dienes told trustees that the Michigan Township Association published “blanket ordinances” for townships that wish to opt out.

“You can control the location of grow facilities and the distances of those from schools and churches, much like you would do with a liquor license,” Dienes said. “But there is no rush to make a decision yet.”

Dienes said there is no legal advantage or disadvantage to adopting an ordinance now, compared to waiting to see how the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs implements the new licensing program.

LARA has about a year until it can begin issuing licenses for recreational marijuana-related businesses.

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 to allow medical marijuana facilities in their jurisdictions.

Under the state’s Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act, whatever marijuana is grown would be tested and taxed, and the locations of facilities would be regulated. 

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.

While the survey results were nearly even, an informational meeting that opened up public comment in May revealed an overwhelming response against processors. In November voters in Lincoln Township voted against Proposal 1, 3,989 to 3,303.

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