Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood extends marijuana opt-out ordinance


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Ironwood — The Ironwood City Commission on Monday extended its opt-out ordinance for adult-use marijuana until November.

The 3-0 approval with Mayor Annette Burchell and Commissioner Rick Semo not present, was to ensure the existing ordinance would not expire on Tuesday, Sept. 1, with its sunset clause. The extension will run through Monday, Nov. 9, the date of the first city commission meeting for the month.

Mayor Pro Tem Kim Corcoran first inquired if there would be penalties from the state of Michigan for extending the sunset clause as the commission continues its work and continue extending it if needed.

City Manager Scott Erickson said no, the sunset clause was extended a couple of times to allow more time to work on the ordinance and could be again if necessary. He felt the November timetable is adequate to work in recent changes from city commission workshops.

“The time frame seems reasonable,” Erickson said.

Tom Bergman, director of community development for the city of Ironwood, presented an initial draft to the city commission after it was recommended as a proposed adult-use establishment ordinance should the city adopt one in March. The commissioners voted 4-3 against the adult-use ordinance with concerns about buffer zones restricting marijuana establishments, micro-license issues with product testing and certification of edible marijuana products, and limiting the number of retail growers and processors in the ordinance.

The city commission held workshops where members continued to express concern about extending the downtown buffer zones to include the public library and core areas. The commissioners also wanted buffers and barriers to minimize the impact of marijuana micro-businesses and retail establishments on the U.S. 2 corridor with adjacent residential homes.

More recent changes to be presented to the city commission in November will address potential legal questions regarding the competitive application process requirements and whether to remove limits on the number of applicants or licenses.

“We are continuing the process with the marijuana establishment ordinance and will be addressing it again at the next regular city commission meeting,” Bergman said in the meeting. “If we don’t have any changes to the ordinance we should be able to get the application process and the competitive process in place as well in that time frame.”

Once the marijuana establishment ordinance is adopted, the sunset provision will no longer be necessary should the city commission continue making changes to the ordinance, he said.