Mount Clemens commission votes to prohibit outdoor marijuana grow facilities

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 23, 2021

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Mount Clemens can be added to the list of communities not permitting outdoor marijuana grow facilities.

At the June 7 Mount Clemens City Commission meeting, the governing body decided that, in the event the city adopts a marijuana business ordinance, the ordinance should prohibit outdoor grow facilities in Mount Clemens.

The motion to permit facilities failed by one vote. Commissioners Glenn Voorhess, Denise Mentzer, Ron Campbell and Laura Fournier voted to prohibit facilities, while Mayor Laura Kropp and commissioners Rashidah Hammond and Wanda Goodnough voted in favor of allowing outdoor grow facilities.

City Manager Don Johnson said he thought it may be more productive to discuss the four “significant areas” of the proposed marijuana business ordinance, as identified in the city attorney’s cover letter, in separate meetings.

Johnson said City Attorney Michael Murray listed the continued prohibition on outdoor growing as the fourth item on his list.

“Community Development Director Tingley and I think it should be the first item the commission discusses because we feel the decision on outdoor growing will impact some of the other significant areas of discussion,” Johnson said.

Murray noted that municipalities like Harrison Township and Center Line prohibit outdoor marijuana growing.

Kropp said there’s no perfect answer with this topic.

“In order for Gibraltar to work, that would be the only site in the city that an outdoor grow could be contained,” she said.

Under the medical marijuana ordinance, owners of the former Gibraltar Trade Center site on North River Road applied for an outdoor grow license. Murray said the site has a conditional permit.

Campbell said that, as a former school teacher for 30 years, he doesn’t want anything to do with marijuana.

“Every kid that started with pot, it was a tragic story,” he said.

Hammond mentioned that, with either indoor or outdoor grow, there will be some kind of odor.

Mentzer said, under the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, marijuana must be grown in a controlled environment.

“Outside is a very uncontrolled environment,” she said. “I’m not in favor of growing outdoors.”

Voorhess said he would rather have growing contained, as opposed to being in the environment.