Negaunee City Council to Decide on Zoning for Marijuana Businesses

January 7th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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In a significant development for Negaunee's marijuana policy, the city's future regarding the presence of medical and recreational marijuana businesses is now in the hands of the Negaunee City Council. This follows a recent decision by the Negaunee Planning Commission, which approved a recommendation for an ordinance to permit such establishments, albeit with specific zoning restrictions.

The proposed ordinance, as endorsed by the Planning Commission, confines recreational and medical marijuana establishments to industrial zones only. David Nelson, Negaunee's Planning and Zoning Administrator, outlined the limited areas where these establishments could operate. He mentioned locations such as the Tracey Mine, Kallioinen scrapyard, areas adjacent to the wastewater treatment facility, and a city-owned industrial parcel near the cemetery.

Under the ordinance, marijuana businesses must adhere to strict location criteria. They are required to be situated at least 250 feet away from parcels zoned for single-family residential use. Moreover, the ordinance stipulates that no marijuana establishment can operate within 1,000 feet of any school.

Should the city council give the green light to this ordinance, applications for marijuana establishments will be accepted starting January 1st, as per the ordinance's language. Prospective operators must first acquire a special land use permit from the planning commission.

The ordinance also includes provisions for a selection process by the city in scenarios where multiple applications are submitted for permits to operate as either a micro-business or a provisioning center. According to the ordinance, a micro-business is defined as an entity licensed to cultivate no more than 150 marijuana plants, process and package marijuana, and sell or transfer it to individuals over 21 years old or to a marijuana safety compliance facility. However, they are not permitted to sell to other marijuana establishments.

The 2016 Michigan Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Initiative defines a provisioning center as a commercial entity that buys marijuana from growers or processors and then sells or supplies it to registered qualifying patients or their caregivers.

Regarding licensing, the ordinance caps the number of licenses for micro-businesses and provisioning centers based on the city's population. The formula allows one license for every 2,500 residents, with a scaling system for larger populations. As of 2018, Negaunee's population stood at 4,547, as reported by the U.S. Census.

For other types of marijuana businesses, such as growers, transporters, processing facilities, and safety compliance facilities, there is no population-based restriction on the number of licenses issued.

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