LUME CANNABIS CO. ATTORNEY KEVIN BLAIR addressed the Owosso City Council regarding recreational marijuana licensing during the meeting on Monday, Feb. 3.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The Owosso City Council will allow recreational marijuana businesses in Owosso after holding a public hearing during the Monday, Feb. 3 regular meeting. The ordinance will permit the four existing medical marijuana provisioning center license holders from the lottery last June, to also offer recreational marijuana, effective Monday, Feb. 24. The move by council also lifted the moratorium.
The first motion was to waive the 20-day standard constraint period under emergency provisions, which would have allowed the recreational marijuana businesses to open immediately. The emergency provisions motion required a super vote by council, or five yes votes. It failed. Council members Lori Bailey, Janae Fear and Jerry Haber voted against the first motion.
The 20-day period is utilized by the city when a new ordinance is in play so officials can inform residents. Fear shared she had voted no on the first motion because the issue was not an actual emergency. She then initiated and also voted to approve the second motion, eliminating the emergency language and lifting the moratorium.
Lume Cannabis Co. on N. Washington Street, the first medical marijuana facility to open in Owosso, had previously stated a preference to allow for the immediate selling of recreational marijuana, hoping to become a “split store,” where both medical and recreational marijuana products would be available.
The second motion was to approve the ordinance, minus the 20-day waiver, and lift the moratorium. It passed 4 -3. Jerry Haber, Lori Bailey and Mayor Pro Tem Sue Osika voted against the second motion. The second motion eliminated the emergency provision concern, so it did not require a super vote.
Osika stated she voted against the second motion because she was in agreement with the emergency provision. Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth stated he could see both sides of the argument.
Haber shared he voted against both motions, based on his support for the 42 percent that had voted against the referendum in 2018. He expressed his belief that marijuana is a gateway drug, despite what others suggest, though he is in favor of medical marijuana.
Kevin Blair, attorney for Lume Cannabis Co., said he thinks the new ordinance is in conflict with state law because of the delay approved in the second motion. He also asked the city if Lume was allowed to make advanced preparations prior to the Feb. 24 date. Henne approved the advanced preparations, minus actually opening the store as a rec. marijuana business.
The new ordinance reflects similar guidelines allowed in the medical marijuana ordinance. However, five new licenses are now available through the state and the Owosso Planning Commission will be reviewing language regarding those licenses.
The city of Owosso also adopted an amendment to the City of Owosso 2019 Fee Schedule to allow for an annual fee collection from each medical and/or recreational marijuana business.