City gets details on medical marijuana regulations

ALPENA — The Michigan License and Regulatory Authority has released emergency rules that medical marijuana businesses must abide by should they be granted a license to operate.

Now, many municipalities, including Alpena, will choose to opt into the new laws and make medical marijuana business legal in their respective communities, opt out, or take no action and move forward as they currently are.

The new regulations are only temporary and will remain in place for six months. Then it is expected permanent regulations will be issued.

Alpena Planning and Development Director Adam Poll said the new rules will address marijuana facilities, where they can be located, where the it can be grown and security measures that need to be taken.

Poll said there are five primary types of medical marijuana businesses the new regulations and restrictions apply to. He said there are growing operations, provisioning centers that sell it, testing facilities, transporters and processors that create other products like marijuana edibles.

Poll said municipal council has held off on taking any action until the state released the regulations. He said he will give a report on the issue at the Dec. 18 council meeting and then it will determine what step to take next.

“They will only be able to operate in jurisdictions that have opted in and at this point the city has not done so, because there were so many unknowns about the rules and the fact that they could change,” Poll said.

People wishing to be granted a license can begin to apply for them on Dec.15. Each application will be reviewed and each request will be approved or denied. People who attempt to acquire a license will need to provide proof the municipality they intend to operate in has opted in.

Poll said it likely will take any applicant several months before they are granted licenses.

Poll said there have been people in Alpena who have shown interest in opening a medical marijuana business, but right now they are illegal. He said he also has heard from several people who oppose having marijuana businesses in the city.

“There is definitely interest from locals and people from downstate,” he said. “I get calls routinely asking me if the city is going to opt in.”

Poll said he isn’t sure if council will vote on the issue at its next meeting, but he said he expects there to be discussion. He said the city can take action when and if it chooses according to its own timeline.

“There is no time limit to take action,” Poll said. “The council could make a decision, but I suspect the council will give the staff a direction to go and that would give us a chance to do things like bringing our zoning ordinance up to par.

The meeting on Dec. 18 will begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers upstairs at city hall. The meeting is open to the public and comment is welcome.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.