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Bessemer council moves toward 'opting out' on marijuana


December 4, 2018


Bessemer — At its regular meeting Monday evening, the Bessemer city council voted to authorize city manager Charly Loper to draw up an ordinance that would allow the city to “opt out” of opening a lot of doors to recreational marijuana.

Although Michigan citizens voted to legalize recreational marijuana on Nov. 6, the Cannabis Counsel reports that local governments may limit or prohibit all marijuana enterprises within their own jurisdiction.

This results in a slight paradox, since as of Dec. 6, adults 21 or older may legally smoke marijuana and possess up to 2.5 ounces of it outside of their home or 10 ounces in their home. They may not, however, use it in public, nor buy it from any retail shop, but can grow limited quantities in their own home.

Loper said the state has up to 12 months to start collecting applications for retail establishments. Meanwhile, predicts cannabis sales will not begin until the start of 2020 after state lawmakers work out details of regulations and licensing.

“Many communities are banning it now and then will look at the issue later,” said Loper, who supplied council members with sample ordinances that were used downstate.

“I think the general opt-out should be everything until we learn more,” said Mayor Adam Zak.

“We can always change it at a future time,” said council member Terry Kryshak.

Loper said she will draft the ordinance for the council’s review at a future meeting. She warned that any ordinance requires a related public hearing.

Council members agreed Loper should draw up an ordinance that bans public use of marijuana, as further reinforcement of the state ban, while also opting out of allowing retail marijuana establishments within the city.

The vote was unanimous.


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