Commission OKs marijuana events, designated consumption establishments

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 27, 2021

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MOUNT CLEMENS — If adopted, Mount Clemens’ marijuana business ordinance will allow for temporary marijuana events and designated consumption establishments.

At the July 19 Mount Clemens City Commission meeting, the commission formally discussed the two items, the last of four areas deemed significant as part of the city’s plan regarding a marijuana ordinance.

Over the last couple of months, the city has taken a closer look at the four areas, which involve who should look at applications and make recommendations to the commission for medical marijuana facilities; recreational marijuana facilities; outdoor growing; and designated consumption establishments and microbusinesses.

A motion to table further discussion until the Downtown Development Authority is able to hear from businesses and see if they are in support or against the city having temporary marijuana events failed 6-1. The failed motion was made by Commissioner Denise Mentzer.

A follow-up motion was made that the proposed marijuana business ordinance, if adopted, should allow two designated consumption establishments. This passed 5-2, with Commissioners Ron Campbell and Laura Fournier voting no.

For temporary marijuana events, the commission voted the same way in that Mount Clemens should allow temporary marijuana events.

At its July 6 meeting, the commission discussed microbusinesses, which will be part of the city’s proposed marijuana ordinance.

City manager Don Johnson said the draft ordinance does not allow for designated consumption establishments or temporary marijuana events.

“A designated consumption establishment license permits the consumption of cannabis on commercial premises for adults age 21 and up,” he said. “However, retail sales of marijuana are not permitted at a designated consumption establishment. As a result, the designated consumption establishment must be separate from a licensed marijuana retailer or microbusiness.”

He mentioned that a designated consumption establishment license does not include a right to sell marijuana products.

City Attorney Michael Murray said designated consumption areas are places people can go strictly to smoke marijuana.

“They must be purchased elsewhere and be brought to the designated consumption establishment by the customer, or they may be delivered to a customer at a designated consumption establishment by a licensed retailer,” Johnson said.

Commissioner Rashidah Hammond said she’s all for marijuana consumption events in the city.

Mentzer said she’d be interested in hearing from the Downtown Development Board on the issue.

“If we’re going to have a consumption event, are they interested in having something downtown and closing the streets?” she asked. “If we allow a consumption establishment in the downtown area, I’d like to hear the DDA’s thoughts on that.”

DDA Marketing Coordinator Michelle Weiss said a few years ago, several businesses weren’t for it.

Now, she said those businesses will be impacted and it would be fair to hear their opinion on marijuana events in downtown Mount Clemens.

Regarding temporary events, Murray said statute provides that the state can issue a license to a marijuana event organizer.

“It authorizes that person to organize temporary marijuana events,” he said. “That person must find a site, then go to the municipality and get approval to conduct an event at that site.”

The longest an event could last is seven days.