by Rick Thompson
The 2020 general election may not feature a statewide ballot proposal for cannabis law reform in Michigan but there are plenty of local elections of interest to the cannabis community.
The proposals facing Michigan communities all revolve around the accepting or denying of licensing for cannabis-based businesses. In some communities the proposal would overrule existing ordinances; in some, new businesses would be authorized; and in one community there are competing proposals authorizing cannabis businesses, albeit in differing ways. In one community the proposal would squelch the city’s current cannabis business licensing program.
Michigan’s chapter of NORML will be hosting an election night Zoom watch party live starting at 8pm on November 3rd. You can tune in and participate at THIS LINK. Use the password 846090 , if necessary.
It is quite a diverse slate of ballot options. Here’s a summary of each featured community’s cannabis proposal.
The most contentious cannabis proposal of 2020 is a Port Huron initiative to expand the city’s current number and type of cannabis businesses. The city allowed only recreational businesses under their Council-approved ordinance, and Progress for Michigan says that’s not good enough. Leader Sam Pernick believes the city should have both medical and recreational facilities. The ballot proposal will force the city to take medical businesses and expand the number of adult-use facilities they allow. The legal battle over this proposal went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. LINK: https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/2020/11/02/port-huron-voters-decide-conflicting-marijuana-proposal/6123978002/
Kawkawlin Township has an ordinance before the voters, too. The proposal would allow an unlimited number of recreational cannabis shops to open up in the village, per the proposal’s language. In reality, zoning restrictions will create limits on the number of licenses issued in the city, but the point of avoiding a license cap is easy to see. LINK: https://www.mlive.com/politics/2020/10/your-guide-to-bay-county-proposals-and-contests-on-the-nov-3-election-ballot.html
Three Oaks Michigan has a recreational cannabis ballot proposal on the ballot, which would authorize marijuana establishments in the southwestern Michigan community. They had previously opted-out. LINK: https://www.abc57.com/news/recreational-marijuana-establishments-on-the-ballot-in-three-oaks
Utica will vote to expand their cannabis business opportunities from 2 retail outlet locations to three, by adding two additional licenses and expanding the city’s ordinance restrictions. It’s called The Citizen Revised Marihuana Business Ordinance to Clean Contaminated Property in the City of Utica proposal. LINK: https://www.macombdaily.com/news/macomb-county-voters-have-two-statewide-and-several-local-proposals-to-consider/article_ff6eb036-08bf-11eb-b574-4ff1861d8f46.html
Lake Orion will vote to add two cannabis businesses to the community. It’s an odd proposal wherein one shop is limited to medical only and the other is allowed to have both medical and recreational cannabis sales. LINK: https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/elections/lake-orion-voting-on-medical-recreational-marijuana-zoning-for-two-shops/article_f2cecd6e-13cf-11eb-aba8-a7cccfd1f3ba.html
Constantine, in Monroe County, looks like they have a proposal authorizing recreational cannabis facilities on the ballot. The measure was placed there by Village Council; they already have allocated 11 licenses for medical businesses, of which 7 have been applied for. LINK: https://www.sturgisjournal.com/news/20200804/marijuana-ordinance-proposal-approved
Clawson has two competing ballot proposals. One, sponsored by Sam Pernick’s Progress for Michigan, would allow up to 7 retail centers and other businesses. The alternative proposal would limit the number of retail facilities to two. LINK: https://www.candgnews.com/news/clawson-voters-to-see-two-marijuana-items-on-november-ballot-118499
How about Pinckney, whose voters will be asked to allow up to ten cannabis businesses in their village. This is another Sam Pernick-led ballot proposal. LINK: https://www.whmi.com/news/article/village-pinckney-marijuana-november-election-ballot
Northport voters will get a chance to ban cannabis businesses from their city on November 3rd. Northport Council voted in those businesses and has been approving them since October of 2019. LINK: https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/on-the-ballot-citizens-referendum-to-ban-marijuana-in-northport/article_f0656d96-e30d-11ea-9ef4-eb5439d78eab.html