×

Houghton to consider marijuana opt-in

In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, photo, the cannabis flower is matured under a mixture of warm, high pressure sodium and cool, metal halide lights at Revolution Global's cannabis cultivation center in Delavan, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By GARRETT NEESE

Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON — In March, the Houghton City Council will consider an ordinance to allow recreational marijuana sales in the city.

The ordinance introduced Wednesday would allow recreational marijuana retailers in the city. Other types of facilities — growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, secure transports or microbusinesses — would still be barred.

Earlier this month, the council set public hearings for two other ordinances.

One restricts where a recreational marijuana seller could be located, effectively locating it to the same area — though not necessarily the same establishment — as medical marijuana.

The other revises the medical marijuana ordinance to state that provisioning centers, medical marijuana nurseries or medical marijuana nurseries can share retail space with a recreational marijuana retailer. Medical and recreational products would need to be separated and clearly labeled to avoid confusion. Only people 21 or older would be allowed on site.

City Manager Eric Waara said the city attorney had advised him to have an opt-in ordinance in hand to pass immediately if it also approved the recreational marijuana zoning.

The council could vote to table one or more of the ordinances, but Waara said he would like to see all three come up for a vote at the same meeting.

The city attorney also advised Waara the city should not hurry, with which Waara agrees.

“The state’s reinterpreting their rules all the time,” he said. “What I don’t want the city to run into is a situation where we end up being the legal guinea pig to make case law. We want to make sure we do this in a slow, steady, mesaured fashion.”

Public hearings for the ordinances will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 11. The council could vote on the ordinances later that meeting.

Northern Specialty Health, the city’s sole medical marijuana dispensary, has said it would like to pursue recreational sales as well.

Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018. Last February, the council voted to opt out of allowing marijuana sales, with the intent of revisiting the idea after the state’s procedures for allowing marijuana licenses had become more settled.