The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Commissioners talk marijuana with no immediate vote in sight


March 6, 2018


Ironwood — If Ironwood decides to approve any type of marijuana facilities in the city, the action won’t likely come soon.

City commissioners and planning commissioners sat down Monday in a work session and discussed the possibility of allowing growing, processing, transportation or testing facilities in the city, but took no action.

The matter was referred to the planning commission for discussion at its April meeting.

Ironwood joins other cities in the state in not taking action.

Community development director Tom Bergman showed a map Monday that indicated only a few townships in Michigan have approved allowing marijuana facilities.

One city commissioner — Joe Cayer Jr. — indicated he knows how he’d vote on the issue, but other commissioners seemed to favor a wait-and-see approach.

Mayor Annette Burchell said she wouldn’t want the city’s identity to be tied solely to marijuana facilities.

“We just plain don’t know what it will do to our community,” city commissioner Rick Semo said. He suggested Bergman develop a pro and con chart that would help in the process.

Bergman said legalizing recreational marijuana will likely be on the fall statewide ballot. City officials agreed that would change the whole discussion, as now only medical marijuana is legal for card holders.

About 30 people attended the work session. There was no public comment, as that was heard at a previous meeting on the subject.

Joe Cayer Sr., a planning commission member and former public safety director, said marijuana is illegal on the federal level and he wondered what the city’s legal liability would be if the facilities were approved.

“I question whether the risk is worth the outcome,” he said, indicating the related fees wouldn’t bring much money into the city coffers.

Bergman said there would be a considerable amount of public input should the city commission decide to go ahead with proposing to allow marijuana facilities in the city.


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