Mayor Kelly Garrett, the Lathrup Village City Council and other city staff listen to comments from residents on the possibility of recreational marijuana facilities in 2019.

Mayor Kelly Garrett, the Lathrup Village City Council and other city staff listen to comments from residents on the possibility of recreational marijuana facilities in 2019.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Lathrup City Council in talks to extend marijuana sunset

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published July 21, 2020


LATHRUP VILLAGE — With a sunset date fast approaching, the Lathrup Village City Council is in talks to temporarily extend its decision to opt out of marijuana establishments in the city.

At a March 2019 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, 2018, with more than 55% of the vote. However, municipalities have the ability to “opt out” and ban recreational establishments within their borders.

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

With the sunset provision expiring at the end of September, the Lathrup Village City Council recently discussed its next move at a July 13 study session held via Zoom.

Councilman Saleem Siddiqi said a marijuana study group was formed to research the subject and come up with a recommendation for the city on whether they should opt in or out.

“The first part of this document talks about our purpose, which was to research issues regarding opting in and allowing the operation of marijuana-related businesses in the city and make a recommendation to council before this sunset runs out, which is at the end of September,” Siddiqi said. “Our task was to determine if allowing marijuana businesses in the city would be beneficial to the city or not. We’re not here to give our opinion on the morality of it, if it’s right or wrong.”

According to a document put together by the group, the marijuana study group recommended that the city should allow marijuana related businesses to operate in the city, and recommends licenses be considered for medical marijuana facilities, as well as recreational provisioning centers, testing facilities, processing facilities and transportation businesses.

Siddiqi discussed the financial benefits of allowing recreational marijuana in the city, such as revenue from licensing fees and application fees, as well as tax revenue on the businesses themselves.

Money aside, Siddiqi said that in studying other municipalities, they noticed traffic was greatly impacted by the businesses.

“Traffic is an issue. It’s a big issue. Cities have seen an increase in traffic, which would be a challenging thing for a city like ours, where we have traffic and parking issues already,” Siddiqi said. “That is an issue, and if we were to do it, we need to deal with it and figure out a plan to deal with it.”

Due to COVID-19, Siddiqi said cities have seen increased traffic at their facilities thanks to drive-up and curbside pickup services.

Ultimately, the council unofficially decided to possibly vote on extending the sunset at its next meeting, July 27.

Mayor Kelly Garrett said she didn’t feel she had enough information to make a decision, and she said she’d like to see information on cities outside of Michigan.

“I would be curious of cities that have had recreational marijuana for a while, which, obviously, that’s not going to be in Michigan … a city that is more or less our size,” Garrett said.

Councilman Ian Ferguson assured the council that more data can be obtained.

“I can’t say that we didn’t get enough data, but if we thought we needed more time, we would have taken that,” he said. “But that data we’ve seen is consistent across the board in every city we’ve talked to in Michigan.”

The council discussed possibly extending the sunset for six to 12 months.