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State misses marijuana deadline

Taylor Owens Staff Writer: Michigan municipalities and townships were expecting the state Office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to have a draft of its recreational marijuana retail rules by June – but that deadline has been missed. “It's probably the most anticipated thing in the State of Michigan right now,” former state representative and current recreational marijuana consultant Mike Callton told the Banner Monday.

Like many others, he had heard from LARA Marijuana Regulatory Agency Director Andrew Brisbo that the first draft would be out in June, but Callton said LARA is a bureaucratic organization, and can take time to sort out all the issues.

“Everything is more complicated than you think its going to be,” Callton said. But he said LARA still has a long way to go until the Dec. 6 deadline when the rules must be finished.

At a Nashville Village Council meeting Thursday, June 27, Callton encouraged the council to adopt an ordinance to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries, at least until the state releases the rules.

“There might be something in the rules that will be a deal-killer,” Callton said. He also warned that an outside organization may attempt to build a store in Nashville before the council makes a decision, and then try to sue the village if it tried to stop the store from selling marijuana. He said municipalities can always opt back in if they like the new rules.

Callton also told the village council it may take some time to figure out the rules once they are released.

“Even when I was in the Legislature, I had to have lawyers look at it, because it was all in legalese,” Callton said.

Nashville Village Council President Mike Kenyon said the council will likely vote on an ordinance to opt out at its next meeting. But he stressed that the village would gather more information and public input before making a more permanent decision.

Hastings has already joined many local townships and municipalities in adopting an ordinance to opt out of allowing marijuana retailers, although the city's ordinance expires May 30, 2020. City Manager Jerry Czarnecki said, by opting out, the delay in LARA's draft rules will not affect the council.

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