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For the moment, Pleasant Ridge opts out of recreational marijuana businesses

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 30, 2019

PLEASANT RIDGE — The Pleasant Ridge City Commission passed an ordinance opting out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses to establish themselves in the city for the time being.

Rather than having to pass an ordinance to opt in to allowing recreational marijuana businesses in their borders, local communities in Michigan have to vote on whether they want to opt out. Pleasant Ridge’s ordinance passed at the commission’s April 9 meeting.

The feeling from city staff and the majority of Pleasant Ridge commissioners was that it was best to opt out for the moment.

“This is a protection to the city to make sure that no one can locate a business in Pleasant Ridge until we’re ready to allow that, if we are ready to allow it, in the future,” City Manager James Breuckman said.

Breuckman said the city is proceeding on a community survey and trying to engage the community on this issue. It was noted that there will be a town hall meeting later in the summer to get further input and discussion on allowing recreational marijuana businesses.

He also said that he feels it is best to take a “wait and see” approach to this issue until the state announces what regulations there will be, which the state has to do by Dec. 6.

“We’re passing this ordinance,” Breuckman said. “We can pass an ordinance in the future that would establish a permitting and licensing process in Pleasant Ridge once we’re ready to do that.”

As it was a public hearing, residents did have a chance to voice their feelings on the ordinance. Lisa Mueller felt that passing the ordinance was a little premature if the commission didn’t have all the information.

“It sounds like no one really knows anything,” she said. “I hate to say it, but a group of four to five people to say no, it’s kind of infringing on my rights if I voted for that.

“If I was interested in it, maybe I don’t want to go to Eight Mile. I don’t want to go to Detroit. Maybe I just want to go somewhere in my community, especially if I was a chronic pain patient or whatnot,” Mueller further stated.

Mayor Kurt Metzger reiterated that while Pleasant Ridge is opting out, it can opt back in once the state has written its regulations to a point where cities know what options they have.

“Right now, we don’t know,” he said. “There’s six different types of businesses. We don’t know if we can select one or the other. We don’t know if you get all or none. … We don’t know about locations. … Until we get more information, we’re opting out as a holding pattern.”

Before the vote, Commissioner Jason Krzysiak made a motion stating that the commission would create a sample ordinance with citizen feedback and state regulations when the regulations are released.

“I would vote to temporarily opt out tonight if we could also agree to formulate a sample ordinance for the commission and our residents to consider in the coming months,” he said. “To me, voting to opt out tonight while also committing to work on a sample ordinance covers all our bases and responds reasonably to the different viewpoints held by our neighbors. It commits us to only developing an option. It doesn’t commit us to opting in. It only brings into focus what … opting in could look like. To me, that is a cautious, practical and equitable step to take in the course of action that I would support tonight.”

None of the other commissioners supported Krzysiak’s motion, and only the original ordinance was voted on. The vote was 4-1, with Krzysiak voting no.