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Flint, MI – About a year and a half after Michigan voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana, the Flint City Council is still figuring out how pot will be sold in the city.
The council voted 6-0 April 13 to extend a local emergency marijuana ordinance for another 60 days in order to explore several proposed amendments on how it will regulate the selling of recreational marijuana.
“The absence of such (a local) ordinance would affect the welfare and property rights of the citizens of the city of Flint as marijuana establishments could arise in areas directly adjacent to residences, preschools, park and places of worship,” the ordinance reads.
When recreational marijuana was green lit in Michigan in December, 2018, Flint chose to opt in on state guidelines for creating recreational marijuana industry within the city. The city council, however, enacted an emergency ordinance in December of 2019 to work out stricter local guidelines.
One of the amendments, proposed by Councilman Allan Griggs, is to insert language that prevents the zoning of a recreational marijuana facility within a certain distance from any liquor or party store.
Reed Eriksson, Assistant City Attorney, said that a distance as large as 2000 feet, the distance proposed by Griggs, could cause potential issues.
“I’ve got to imagine that such a large distance requirement from liquor stores, something we hear all the time that the city has too many of, I think that may end up knocking a lot of the city offline as far as the eligibility for marijuana licenses,” he said. “Whether that’s good, bad, or indifferent, we’ll leave that up to council, but for a more detailed review of that proposal I really would need some assistance from planning and zoning.”
A proposed location of particular concern for Griggs is at 2049 Miller Rd, where there is a liquor store across the street from the proposed location.
There is a blight elimination aspect to the current ordinance. This aspect allows exemptions for the rule that says recreational marijuana facilities must be 300 feet from a residential area, as long as the owners submit a blight elimination plan for that neighborhood.
“One of the requirements for the blight elimination plan is the consent of the residents who are affected by this proposed site and the neighborhood association,” Eriksson explained.
“I cannot imagine any scenario where an applicant like 2049 Miller Rd actually gets the consent of the neighborhood for such a plan and gets that plan approved at a public hearing before the planning commission before they’re eligible for it, which is a requirement,” he continued.
Currently, under state guidelines, the only applications being accepted are from currently licensed medical distributors.