The Pleasant Ridge City Commission discussed its options regarding recreational marijuana businesses at its Dec. 11 meeting.

The Pleasant Ridge City Commission discussed its options regarding recreational marijuana businesses at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Photo by Mike Koury

Pleasant Ridge holds off on marijuana business ordinance

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 17, 2018


PLEASANT RIDGE — Pleasant Ridge has become the latest city to discuss whether or not to allow recreational marijuana businesses.

The City Commission discussed at its Dec. 11 meeting whether or not to pass an ordinance prohibiting marijuana facilities in Pleasant Ridge.

After the passage of Proposal 1, which legalized recreational marijuana in Michigan under state law, each municipality may decide whether it would like to “opt out” of allowing recreational marijuana businesses within its borders.

“We have a year, basically, to decide what we’re going to do,” City Manager James Breuckman said. “The law gives the state a year from its passage to come up with the licensing requirements, because all of these marijuana facilities — businesses — have to be licensed by the state. It’s a similar process to a liquor license, where they get the license from the state, but then the local municipality also signs off on a license. In some cases, you maybe will have some local ordinances, although we haven’t fully worked through all those options yet.”

Breuckman and City Attorney Greg Need said it might make sense for them to take a couple of months to take a deep dive into the law and see what all of their options are, as the city manager said there are a lot of unknowns and questions to be answered.

“Based on the experience with the medicinal marijuana act, no one is really confident that the state regulations are going to be written anytime soon,” Need said.

Breuckman said one possible pathway forward would be to adopt the ordinance and opt out for the time being while other communities test the boundaries and figure out “where the gremlins are and what we need to be aware of.”

“Then, at a future date, come back to this when maybe there’s more certainty,” he said. “That’s a path we could take to protect ourselves.

“Knowing that the state is not going to do anything probably for a year, give or take, we have time to sit on this and get further information from residents, and just get further information on it,” Breuckman commented.

As a community, Pleasant Ridge supported Proposal 1 with almost 75 percent of registered voters saying yes. With 1,772 total votes, 1,314 residents said yes while 458 said no.

Commissioner Jason Krzysiak said that to him, there are not many things where you can get three out of four people to agree on it. What he and the commission are more interested in, he believes, is what the residents really feel about this issue and if it is something they would feel comfortable having in the community.

Krzysiak also called on residents to contact both Breuckman and the City Commission to give their thoughts on what the city should do.

“I really look forward to, over the next couple of months, while Jim and Greg are working on it, to kind of harness some of the thoughts of our neighbors,” he said. “Please let us know, because I know that’s one of the things we’ve talked about over the last couple of weeks, since it was approved in November, (is) what are we going to do?

“That was really the main concern for me, is that we didn’t have an opportunity between when it got approved and now to really interact with residents on this,” Krzysiak said.

The commission decided it was best not to do anything at the moment and bring the topic back later for discussion.

Breuckman later elaborated in an email that there is no definite schedule for the ordinance to come back to the commission, but that a more comprehensive overview of the law will be done before it’s discussed again.