Pleasant Ridge might opt out of marijuana businesses for time being

City will conduct survey, meeting to get feedback

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 26, 2019

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PLEASANT RIDGE — The city of Pleasant Ridge has been discussing whether to allow recreational marijuana businesses in town.

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the City Commission passed two motions: to both conduct a survey and hold a town hall meeting to gather resident input on their feelings about allowing recreational marijuana businesses in Pleasant Ridge, and to write an ordinance to opt out of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act for the time being while information is gathered.

While the commissioners disagreed through the course of the conversation on whether they should opt out of the ordinance during the information gathering period, all felt it was important to gather resident feedback on allowing any or all of the six marijuana business types to open in the city.

“If we sent out a survey ahead of the town hall so that we get feedback from the residents on what drove the vote, and then hold a town hall, that might happen when we have more information from the state, and then that gives us some basis to hold the town hall so that it doesn’t feel so hypothetical to everyone,” Commissioner Bret Scott said at the meeting.

While Scott was all for the survey and town hall, he supported opting out of the state law for the time being.

“It will take us time to craft our ordinances the way we want to reflect the city,” he said. “It makes sense to opt out until we know exactly how we want it to look for us, and then opt in when we have figured out all the details associated with the six business types associated with this new state law, and then make the ordinance fit to the degree that we can fit our character of our city.”

Scott said that if Pleasant Ridge opts out, it protects the city from the potential of someone requesting a license that the city would have to accept if the city didn’t opt out, and gives itself the time to create ordinances that fit the character of the town.

“(Opting out) also shouldn’t stop us from maybe doing a community survey to understand why three-quarters of our population said yes to the last ballot measure, because there’s something there and we should figure it out,” he said.

Scott and Commissioners Ann Perry and Amanda Wahl voted for the city to write an opt-out ordinance, while Mayor Kurt Metzger and Commissioner Jason Krzysiak voted against the motion.

Krzysiak was against opting out, as he wanted to get the resident input before making any decision on opting in or out of the law.

“We’re making a decision when we really don’t have to make a decision tonight,” he said.

Krzysiak also said that anyone, whether they’re for or against allowing recreational marijuana businesses in Pleasant Ridge, should contact the commissioners and the city to make their voice heard.

“If you are interested, this is something we need your input in, one way or the other,” he said.

City Manager James Breuckman said the opt-out can be reconsidered at any time once the city has further information from the state in terms of regulations or any kind of clarifications to the law. 

“We can come back and reconsider this decision, look at ways of allowing for marijuana establishments in the future, when some of the unknowns are eliminated and we have more certainty on what we can and can’t do, and what does and does not work,” he said.

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