Center Line opts out of recreational marijuana

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 11, 2019

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CENTER LINE — Last month, officials in Center Line joined a growing list of Michigan communities choosing to “opt out” of allowing retail recreational marijuana sales, even as the city continues to move forward with approvals for licenses governing various medical marijuana operations.

“We’re staying with the medical marijuana,” Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said Jan. 8. “There’s just too much uncertainty with regards to the recreational. We felt it was in the best interest of the community to opt out on the recreational side.”

The Center Line City Council voted unanimously to opt out. Champine said the decision by the council, which came at the recommendation of legal staff and city administration, was made to protect the city’s right to regulate operations that grow, process or dispense commercial marijuana.

“Our council stood by their decision to opt in on medical marijuana,” Champine said. “However, the recreational marijuana law as written, in my perspective, is in conflict with the medical marijuana law. There’s less ability by the local municipalities to regulate the type of facilities to be allowed.”

The Michigan Municipal League, or MML, has advised communities that no action is needed if they intend to allow recreational marijuana facilities within their borders.

“Under this new act, every municipality is considered to be ‘in’ unless it takes specific action to opt out,” the MML advised on its website at www.mml.org.

The MML also provided several “sample” opt-out ordinances, including those of St. Clair Shores and Sterling Heights.

After months of political back-and-forth between Mayor Jim Fouts and the City Council, the city of Warren late last year approved tweaks to its own ordinances regulating medical marijuana facilities, in compliance with the state’s Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act of 2016. Warren has taken no action thus far with regard to recreational marijuana businesses.

On Jan. 7, the Center Line City Council approved three “stacked” licenses for Cultination LLC for growing, processing and provisioning medical marijuana. Champine said the company plans to construct a total of 135,000 square feet of space in three buildings on the southeast corner of Bernice Street and Lawrence Avenue.

In November, the council approved a medical marijuana provisioning center facility license for Pure Roots on Liberal Street. Champine said the company plans to build an 8,000-square-foot building on a site where two non-conforming residential properties will be demolished.

Champine declined to comment on two additional applications that remain outstanding.

Center Line approved its own medical marijuana facilities ordinance in December 2017.

The ordinance restricts such facilities to M1 and M2 zones, primarily found north of 10 Mile Road (north of Memorial Park, to the city’s northern border), between Lawrence and Sherwood avenues, and south of 10 Mile along Sherwood.

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