Lapeer City Explores Changes to Cannabis Business Ordinances Amid Odor Concerns

March 31st, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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Lapeer's city management, under the guidance of City Manager Mike Womack, is actively addressing community concerns regarding the odors emanating from cannabis cultivation facilities. Concurrently, there is an ongoing effort to amend the local ordinances that govern cannabis enterprises within the area.

In an attempt to thoroughly assess and potentially revise the regulations and policies surrounding the placement and operation of cannabis businesses, the Lapeer City Commission implemented a six-month pause on accepting new cannabis business applications in January. This moratorium comes despite the city having already issued licenses to seven adult-use cannabis retail outlets, without imposing a cap on the number of cultivation and processing facilities.

The recommendation to reassess how cannabis businesses are regulated came from the Lapeer Planning Commission. They advised that the City Commission consider requiring all cannabis-related businesses to obtain a special land use permit. This permit system would provide the city with a mechanism to revoke licenses in the event of regulatory non-compliance, offering a direct method for enforcement.

Addressing the odor complaints, Womack expressed that mitigating such issues, whether cannabis-related or otherwise, presents a significant challenge. He highlighted his approach of seeking voluntary cooperation from businesses alleged to be the source of odors, rather than immediately resorting to enforcement measures. This approach has led to several constructive discussions with the involved cannabis businesses.

Womack shared his belief that the businesses are not intentionally causing odor issues or seeking negative attention from these emissions. However, despite their efforts, the problem persists. He appealed for public patience and trust as the city works to address this complex issue in a fair and considered manner.

The review of the moratorium and ordinance adjustments is an ongoing process. Womack is collaborating with city staff, the city attorney, the City Commission, and even the businesses themselves to identify and implement solutions that balance the interests of all parties. The final decision on any changes to the city's cannabis regulations will rest with the City Commission, following Womack's proposal based on comprehensive discussions and analyses.

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