Birmingham Is Thinking About Passing a Marijuana Law!
Before the regular meeting of the Birmingham City Commission on February 13, an official workshop was held to review existing marijuana regulations.
Mary Kucharek, the municipal attorney, gave a presentation in which she discussed the legal history of marijuana, the current position of the legislation, and what this could potentially mean for the city.
“I do not wish to be remembered as a city attorney who is attempting to bring marijuana to Birmingham’s limits. That is not what I intend to accomplish. That is not my intention. Not on my plans at all. “It is not my job,” stated Kucharek.
“My goal is to ensure that this commission is properly informed of the laws in Michigan and how they may affect the citizens, and you, as the legislative body, must be informed of all of these laws and their potential results and unintended implications for the city.”
Kucharek presented the commissioners with fundamental information on the national legalization of marijuana. She stated that medical marijuana is permitted in 39 states and recreational marijuana is authorized in 21 states, including Michigan.
Since 2008, three significant marijuana-related statutes have been enacted in Michigan.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, passed in 2008, allows patients and carers to grow marijuana for medical purposes in their homes; the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act, passed in 2016, allows for the commercial sale of medical marijuana; and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, passed in 2018, legalized recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 or older to possess and grow a certain amount of marijuana.
A marijuana enterprise may be licensed as a grower, processor, secure transporter, retailer, safety compliance facility, or microbusiness, according to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.
The main topic of discussion on February 13 was the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, specifically the licensing of merchants and micro businesses.
Kucharek described the implications of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act on local governments. In accordance with this act, a municipality may permit or restrict the number of marijuana businesses inside its borders.
In 2018, when the proposal to legalize marijuana appeared on statewide ballots, 7,296 Birmingham voters supported the measure, while 4,721 opposed it.
In 2018, the Birmingham City Commission voted to opt out of having marijuana enterprises under the city’s authority.
Detroit, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Walled Lake, and Lake Orion are some of the local communities that have chosen to participate.
Regardless of the commission’s decision to opt out, this act permits residents to initiate a ballot initiative that would authorize marijuana enterprises. This proposed ordinance on the ballot may be approved by the voters.
Yet, if a legislative body chooses to create an ordinance, they have the authority to regulate marijuana shops through either a regulatory ordinance or a regulatory ordinance and zoning ordinance modification. This provides local control over the establishment types, establishment numbers, and establishment locations.
According to Kucharek’s presentation, the advantages of the city opting in include local authority over the ordinance, marijuana control within its borders, time to process and adapt to changes on its own terms and conditions, and the possibility to amend the ordinance.
If Birmingham maintains its opt-out status, marijuana businesses will continue to be outlawed within the city, but a citizen initiative might go on the ballot to overturn that.
Several cities in Michigan, including Allen Park, Auburn Hills, Belleville City, and Royal Oak Township, have submitted citizen initiative petitions.
Kucharek concluded her presentation with an endorsement.
“My advice is to take charge of the situation. What does that imply? This is up to you to decide,” stated Kucharek.
Tom Markus, the city manager, stated that self-defense was a factor in bringing this up.
During the discussion, Markus stated, “We wanted to make you aware that there is a significant potential that an initiation may occur.”
Following the presentation, the City Commission reviewed particular zoning and regulation-related concerns.
Elaine McLain, Mayor Pro Tem, inquired about the prospect that this debate could inspire a citizen petition, despite their intention to handle their finances properly.
Kucharek stated that the city routinely receives calls regarding this topic.
“To not discuss something because it may spark an idea in someone’s mind would be naïve, and we would be burying our heads in the sand,” added Kucharek.
There was one public remark from a Birmingham property owner who opposed the city’s decision to allow marijuana businesses. This person urged the City Commission to take a stance and do a comprehensive analysis of how this would affect the neighborhood.
This subject may be discussed in upcoming City Commission meetings. On bhamgov.org, you can find recordings of all public meetings.