Marijuana moves

Marquette City Commission approves cannabis events policy, resolutions

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Commission on Monday night voted unanimously to approve a temporary marijuana events policy and coinciding resolutions to allow cannabis-related events to occur at three city properties.

Under one of the two resolutions, the commission approved Tourist Park, Lakeview Arena and Presque Isle Park as acceptable venues for marijuana events. These sites were selected based on event size, designated marijuana buffers, and location and availability of facilities and services, city documents state.

However, there are specific guidelines in place for each site. Lakeview Arena and the Presque Isle pavilion will only permit non-smoking/non-vaping events within normal venue rental guidelines due to indoor smoking policies at the facilities. Tourist Park will only permit events to occur in May and October, the months that the campground is the lowest utilized, according to the city. Smoking events will be permitted at the campground, but the city is looking at additional conditions to ensure preservation of the park’s primary purpose: camping.

Each temporary marijuana event license will carry a $500 per day fee, with an additional $200 for each licensee authorized to sell marijuana products at the event. All events will follow the format of the city’s special events application process and will require a review by the commission.

Assistant City Manager Sean Hobbins said the per-day fee falls in line with what the state of Michigan charges for marijuana events.

“We actually could charge up to $5,000 for this license like the other ones, but the state charges $500 per event and $500 per vendor authorized to sell,” he said. “We chose to stay in line with the state guidelines on that and charge the $500 per day, per event. Then we actually lowered the per vendor to $200.”

While these guidelines are now in place for the foreseeable future, the commission did recognize that there is room for improvement down the line if need be.

“It’s a brave new world for us, and certainly we’re going to be experimenting I think as we move along,” said Commissioner Fred Stonehouse. “This seems to be a very reasonable start point from which we can take modifications as we gain experience and have the opportunity to learn more.”

Commissioner Cody Mayer amended the original motion to approve the policy and resolutions as presented and proposed the policy be brought back to the commission in November 2022 to evaluate and make modifications if necessary. The amendment was seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Jenn Hill and the vote was unanimous among commissioners.

The November 2022 evaluation period would come after the city’s annual review of the fee schedule during budget talks, allowing the designated May and October event periods for Tourist Park to pass.

“We can review the fees (during budget season), but any other modifications to the policy we couldn’t necessarily do at the same time,” Mayer said. “And it also would allow us to have both that spring and fall season of doing the events through it by November.”

Commissioner Evan Bonsall agreed with Mayer’s amendment.

“I think that there is more to this than just the fee,” Bonsall said. “This is quite a lengthy policy and there are various aspects and things that we might learn in the coming year. So I think revisiting the entire thing in addition to obviously reviewing the fees and formulating the city budget next year makes sense.”

The city’s original recreational marijuana ordinance was approved by the commission in late 2019. The state of Michigan legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2018.


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