OWOSSO CITY ATTORNEY SCOTT GOULD (left) was directed by council on Monday evening to draft an ordinance to allow current medical marijuana license holders to apply to also offer recreational marijuana within the same location.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor

   The city of Owosso is closing in on allowing (adult-use) recreational marijuana facilities after the regular city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 6.

   A public forum was held Monday evening in which Nathan Henne, city manager, offered a brief presentation, restating a few of the basic points on both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana licensing. Henne then suggested council take action to allow the four current medical marijuana license holders to immediately proceed in applying to offer recreational marijuana within the same location – forming a split use business. Henne also wanted the city to allow any current/future license holders for growing, processing, transporting and labs (safety compliance facilities) to have the same opportunity as the medical marijuana license holders.

   However, with the creation of new types of licenses that have been introduced in the state after Proposal 1 passed in 2018, Henne recommended that planning commission should be permitted to develop the wording for new zoning regulations. He believes that the most popular new licenses will be microbusinesses and designated consumption establishments (clubs). Microbusinesses will allow a grower to have 150 plants for processing and sale at a single location. Designated consumption establishments involve marijuana use in approved social venues.

   Tom Manke, Doug Williams, John Basset, Eddie Urban and Kevin M. Blair, who is the attorney for Lume Cannabis Co., all commented during the public forum. Lume is set to open on N. Washington Street soon and will be the first of the four medical marijuana license holders to open downtown.

   After both public and council discussion, the council moved 5-1, with Jerry Haber voting no and Lori Bailey absent, to have Owosso City Attorney Scott Gould draft an ordinance to allow current and future license holders, as suggested by Henne, to immediately apply for recreational marijuana licensing. The ordinance would also need to lift the current moratorium on establishing marijuana facilities. In short, growers, processors, transporters, provisioning centers and labs would be permitted to have the recreational marijuana option under the ordinance that Gould is going to work on. He stated he thinks he will be able to have the ordinance draft ready by the next council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, following Martin Luther King Day.

   The council also directed planning commission to research and make a recommendation to council on allowing the new types of recreational marijuana licenses, now outlined through the state. Planning commission will need to assess zoning and placement questions and how many facilities will be permitted and other related information.

   Manke had asked council for clarification on the ten licenses, including the five new licenses. The combined licenses are: grower, processor, transporter, provisioning center, safety compliance facilities, event organizer, temporary marijuana event, designated consumption establishment, excess marijuana grower and microbusiness. Manke also questioned council on the need to amend the previous city ordinance prohibiting marijuana “paraphernalia.” Owosso mayor Chris Eveleth agreed with him.

   According to information provided through the city, after the current moratorium expires and the new ordinance is considered over two council meetings, it could go into effect 20 days after the second meeting if approved by the council. This suggests that recreational marijuana sales might be available near the end of February or early spring.

   More can be found through the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) under LARA at www.michigan.gov.

Owosso Moves to Draft Recreational Marijuana Ordinance was last modified: January 13th, 2020 by Karen Elford