It has emerged that some communities within Michigan are attempting to ban commercial marijuana facilities focused on supplying the drug for recreational abuse within the borders of their communities. This news comes within weeks of the state of Michigan approving laws that would allow marijuana to be cultivated and sold recreationally.

The law is due to go into effect in December, so those communities will need to act fast if they want to use their opt-out to block the sale of recreational marijuana in their area. So how can these communities choose to opt out of a law like this? The current opt-out system means that if they want to avoid the sale of recreational marijuana, they have to pass an ordinance or convince voters to approve a ballot saying that the community doesn’t wish to participate.

The procedures surrounding such ballots and when they should take place or when they can take place is very murky to say the least. Some believe that they can’t occur until the next general election in 2020, but communities opposing the law aren’t happy with that delay. It remains to be seen how this plays out as parties on each side make their case.


Potential Restrictions

If a community does manage to pass a local ordinance, there is a variety of outcomes of that process. Of course, as mentioned above, it’s possible that it will result in these kinds of businesses being banned and commercial marijuana sales being stopped. However, that’s not the only potential outcome of the local ordinance. It’s also possible that rather than banning the sale of marijuana, it’s instead restricting in certain ways that are not unreasonably impracticable and that don’t obstruct the law itself. This can mean a host of different things in practice.

For example, one restriction might involve marijuana businesses operating in the local area having to obtain a local license before they can start trading, on top of the state license they already have. How businesses advertise or put up signs might also be restricted, and the number of hours they’re allowed to open for might also be capped. There could also be fees and administrative costs levied against the businesses. All of these discussions need to be had once a local ordinance is passed in the community.


The Towns Looking to Opt Out & Why They’re Doing So

Monroe was among the communities to first take action and voice its opposition to the new marijuana laws. However, the community has said that they’re only opting out until they have more information, meaning they haven’t ruled out on participating in this new industry at some point in the future. This underlines how unsure some communities are of the law, even if their opposition isn’t entirely based in the facts just yet. The right understanding and more information could be enough to persuade them to get involved going forward.

The story is similar in Pinckney, where the local attorney said that it’s best for the community to opt out now early in the process and retain the right to opt back in later if the community wished to do so. Troy is another community attempting to pass a local ordinary in order to opt out of the recreational marijuana industry for now. In Jackson, views are very split. A vote on a proposal that would have allowed medical and recreational marijuana to be sold in the community came down to a split vote and failed. There’s not a lot of consensus on this issue in many communities.


Causing Increased Costs?

There are some communities and citizens that are worried about an increase to public spending that might have to occur as a result of recreational marijuana sales being legalized in their communities. In Northville Township, the Public Safety Director is reviewing the potential for public safety spending to increase. It’s thought that safety spending will rise, and it’s being asked whether the increased tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana sales will cover that rise or not.

There is definitely going to be a benefit to local communities in terms of tax revenues because 15% of the tax collected from marijuana sales can go directly to the communities in which those marijuana facilities are located, so it has the potential to raise a lot of money for each area impacted. If it’s found that this revenue exceeds other spending demands relating to the legalization, communities will be much more willing to push ahead with embracing the industry.