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Clawson votes to opt out of recreational marijuana

City to hold town hall Sept. 11

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 27, 2019

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CLAWSON — In a 3-2 vote Aug. 20, the Clawson City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments in the city. The second reading will take place in September, and if approved, will take effect 10 days after the vote.

At 7 p.m. Sept. 11, the city will host an informational town hall meeting for the purpose of educating residents on the state’s new laws and obtaining public input on what residents would like to see in their city concerning recreational marijuana facilities and licensing.

The meeting will take place at Clawson City Hall, 425 N. Main St., north of 14 Mile Road.

While 55% of Michigan voters approved the regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana for those ages 21 and older, 66% percent of Clawson voters approved Proposal 1.

Communities had to specifically opt in for the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act; however, under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, the state is required to issue operating licenses for marijuana establishments anywhere in Michigan unless a local municipality enacts an ordinance prohibiting them.

The state has until Dec. 6, 2019, to set regulations for licensing recreational marijuana facilities.

City Attorney Jon Kingsepp said additional temporary licenses were set forth July 2, 2019, and municipalities have until Nov. 1 to opt out. 

He added that the city’s decision to opt out does not indicate opposition to allowing recreational marijuana facilities in Clawson, but instead gives the city more time to solicit feedback from the community to determine what, if anything, to allow.

“This action is justified at this time because the process we will need to take will take a period of time beyond the Nov. 1 deadline,” Mayor Deborah Wooley said. “No information received so far suggests the state of Michigan is going to extend that deadline another six months.”

A public hearing on the issue was originally scheduled for Oct. 8, but several council members voiced opposition to waiting that long. As a result, the public hearing was rescheduled for Sept. 11. 

“We have had a year, and I have requested multiple times that we have a public hearing, and in a year, we have not done it,” Councilwoman Susan Moffitt said. “We should put on a presentation of all the facts, all the information we have, sometime in September, thoroughly publicize it, get their feedback and then act on it in October.”

Councilwoman Paula Millan said she was more concerned about the financial ramifications of allowing such establishments, such revenue and cost to the city, than what residents did or did not want.

“If we don’t allow any of these businesses inside of Clawson, they’d be readily accessible within a mile or two from here,” she said. “We have a limited budget, and I think we really need to be responsible with our resources.”

She said she did not believe there would be enough of a gain to open recreational marijuana businesses in the city.

“I want those things addressed when we have our meeting, because I think they’re critical for people to make a decision that is not just an emotional decision based on something they may personally want to have here,” Millan said.

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Ulbrich, Wooley and Millan voted in favor of the ordinance to opt out. Councilman Howie Airriess and Moffitt cast the two “no” votes.

For more information, visit or call Clawson City Hall at (248) 435-4500.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.