Lathrup Village resident Jeanne Barron speaks against recreational marijuana establishments during a town hall meeting at Lathrup Village City Hall Jan. 26. The Lathrup Village City Council recently voted to prohibit recreational marijunana establishments.

Lathrup Village resident Jeanne Barron speaks against recreational marijuana establishments during a town hall meeting at Lathrup Village City Hall Jan. 26. The Lathrup Village City Council recently voted to prohibit recreational marijunana establishments.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Lathrup Village opts out of recreational marijuana

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 3, 2019

 Police Chief Scott McKee speaks during the town hall.

Police Chief Scott McKee speaks during the town hall.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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LATHRUP VILLAGE — Pot proponents will have to step outside of Lathrup Village to purchase their wares, according to a new city ordinance.

At a March 18 meeting, the Lathrup Village City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that enables the city to opt out of recreational marijuana establishments in the city.

Statewide Proposal 1, which legalized pot for recreational use for people 21 and older, passed in all 83 Michigan counties during the midterm election Nov. 6 with more than 55 percent of the vote. However, municipalities have the ability to “opt out” and ban recreational establishments within their borders.

City Attorney Scott Baker said that the ordinance contains a sunset provision that requires the city to revisit the ordinance in 18 months. Otherwise, the ordinance expires, he said.

During those 18 months, Baker said, the city will explore its options.

“It does provide the city with an opportunity to collect some data from other communities that elect to opt in and make a more informed decision at some point in the future as to whether or not they want to maintain this ordinance and opt out, or opt in,” Baker said at the meeting.

The city held two town hall meetings on recreational marijuana where residents could weigh in on what they thought of either opting in or opting out.

During a January town hall, Mayor Kelly Garrett said the council was on the fence about how the city would react to the newly passed state law.

Police Chief Scott McKee said at the town hall meeting that  he is concerned that impaired driving deaths will increase if the city allows recreational marijuana facilities, and he is concerned that there could be a spike in violent crime. McKee cited studies from Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012.

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor said the sunset provision allows Lathrup Village to study other cities that have opted in.

“It gives us time to see what happens with other communities that do actually go ahead and implement recreational marijuana, and it gives us time to get some data to see what’s going on in those communities and what effects it has,” Kantor said at the meeting. “And we really thought there was no burning need to be first out of the gate to do this, so we can take the lessons that we learn from other communities and make a fully informed decision.”

Baker said the city could revisit the ordinance sooner than 18 months if officials so choose.

“The city has options just like they do with any ordinance. They could revisit it sooner than 18 months. … The city could choose to extend it for an additional period of time or indefinitely,” Baker said. “They could make any changes they feel appropriate and in the best interest of the residents.”

Councilwoman Donna Stallings said she wants to make sure city leadership keeps an eye on the ordinance’s expiration date.

“I think the whole point is to be very prudent and watch that sunset date and decide, even at that point, do we have enough information to go forward and make decisions?” Stallings said. “I think we’re just being prudent and carefully watching and evaluating.”

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