GENSEEE COUNTY, MI — Some Genesee County governments may opt out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses in their townships and cities as the state law goes into effect on Thursday.
Proposal 1 approved by Michigan voters in November allows adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces on their person and up to 10 ounces at home, including 15 grams of marijuana concentrate.
Commercial recreational marijuana businesses are allowed to open in the state, unless local governments choose to opt out as Montrose Township, Genesee Township, and the city of Montrose are discussing.
Fred Domine, Montrose Township clerk, confirmed board members voted Nov. 20 to approve a first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the establishments. He declined to provide a copy of the ordinance, stating additional votes were still needed to approve the measure.
Mark Emmendorfer, Montrose Township supervisor, was not immediately available for comment. Township voters in all four precincts were in favor of Proposal 1 — a 1,388 yes to 1,337 no count, according to the final numbers from the Genesee County Elections Office.
Genesee Township officials plan to vote next week on an ordinance that would prohibit the establishments and subject those found in violation to a fine of up to $500 per day.
“They are still sorting out the current process right now,” said Steve Fuhr, Genesee Township supervisor, regarding the potential opt-out.
While the election results have been certified by the Board of State Canvassers, the state has until 2020 to craft new rules and regulations for recreational marijuana businesses and products.
Voters in all nine township precincts approved Proposal 1 as they did in the one precinct in the city of Montrose — 332 yes to 282 no votes.
Neil Rankin, Montrose city manager, said they are working on an ordinance for board members to decide on whether they want in or not on the businesses.
“Not at this point. We’re not looking not to do it,” he commented, adding “We have basically a year or so between (legalization) and when the recreational component will be put into place.”
Licensed medical marijuana businesses in Michigan will be allowed to apply for recreational licenses first.
“They have to weigh: do you want to have these facilities?” said Rankin of local governments. “Is it worth the hassle? I think a lot of it is going to be based on property costs. Some communities wouldn’t be attractive to this kind of opportunity. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Other mid-Michigan communities, includi