Tuesday, May 26, 2020

City officials begin to hash out recreational marijuana rules

October 9, 2019
<p>Marijuana is pictured Feb. 20, 2019.</p>

Marijuana is pictured Feb. 20, 2019.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

East Lansing city officials considered regulations for recreational marijuana facilities after a Sept. 25 planning commission meeting.

With recreational marijuana legalized last year, city officials are drafting new rules on how to proceed with sales in the city. The plans are still a work in progress.

City officials are unsure when or how many recreational dispensaries will open.

"You can't even [sell recreationally] until next year at the earliest," said East Lansing Planning Commission Vice Chair Kathleen Boyle. "I think it's gonna be a while."

East Lansing Planning Director Thomas Fehrenbach said the city doesn't have an expected date for recreational shops to begin selling, and it is unknown how many shops will open.

The draft ordinance requires recreational sellers to have to have a medicinal license in addition to a recreational license. Some officials are concerned this measure makes it too expensive to operate in East Lansing.

"To me, that limits the ability of people to do recreational marijuana business," Boyle said.

The city was motivated to get the ball rolling on regulations because of state government emergency rules created in July.

City Attorney Thomas Yeadon said to the council in August that new regulations should be in place before Nov. 1, when the state begins accepting license applications. Local governments have until then to create stricter regulations or prohibit recreational marijuana stores altogether.

The emergency rules also permit marijuana lounges, festivals and deliveries.

Fehrenbach said the city's draft ordinance allows deliveries, but not lounges for on-site consumption. Exact details on the regulations remain uncertain.

"The drafted ordinance is a starting point for discussion," Fehrenbach said via email.

The ordinance will be discussed at the next planning commission meeting, Oct. 9. There, the commission could potentially make a recommendation for councilmembers.

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