Mount Clemens continues examining marijuana ordinance

Raises pay for election workers

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 28, 2021

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MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens City Commission could approve permit applications if a marijuana ordinance is approved.

At its June 21 meeting, the commission continued its discussion of the proposed marijuana business ordinance, looking at one of four significant areas.

Earlier in June, it voted to not allow outdoor growing in the proposed ordinance if it is adopted.

The discussion centered on the question of who will approve permit applications.  

The commission, in a 6-1 vote, approved that if the proposed marijuana business ordinance is adopted, it should provide for decisions approving permit applications to be made by the City Commission. The lone no vote came from Commissioner Denise Mentzer.

“Under our existing medical marijuana facilities ordinance, a committee consisting of the city manager or his/her designee, the city clerk, and the community development director reviews and approves or disapproves applications for permits,” City Manager Don Johnson said.

He added the City Commission is not officially involved in this process.

“The city attorney’s draft of the marijuana business ordinance eliminates the committee, and the City Commission makes the decision, based upon information and recommendations provided by the city manager,” he said.

Commissioner Laura Fournier said, given increased legal activity, problems with the Open Meetings Act and a heightened awareness when it comes to marijuana, she agrees that the commission should make decisions approving permit applications.

Mentzer disagreed.

“I think there should be a committee, and it should be a businessperson from the city, a resident, a commissioner, someone from the DDA and the community development director,” she said.  

Mentzer suggested the committee should make a recommendation to the commission, who would have the opportunity to approve or deny.

City Attorney Michael Murray said that, in Warren, there were 11 lawsuits related to marijuana permit applications.

“Their committee applied the ordinance and scored it improperly,” he said. “They’re still fighting over it.”

Murray mentioned that, with committees, municipalities run into problems with the Open Meetings Act. He cited the city was sued for violating the act.

Additional areas of the ordinance will be discussed at future meetings.

Also at the meeting, a pay raise was approved for election inspectors from $140 to $165 per day; absent voter counting board inspectors from $125 to $150 per day; election chairpersons from $175 to $200 per day; and absent voter counting board chairpersons from $150 to $200 per day, effective July 1.