Legal Cannabis in Michigan and Municipality Zoning

Michigan cannabis legalization

Municipalities Reluctant to Take Action Without State Regulations

In November 2018 Michigan residents voted to make cannabis legal for recreational purposes. Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released draft regulations for recreational cannabis businesses on July 3. These regulations are critical to bolstering Michigan’s legal cannabis market

Cannabis Businesses in Michigan Communities

In the absence of state regulations, many Michigan municipalities opted out of allowing recreational cannabis businesses in their communities. While over 100 municipalities are allowing medical cannabis businesses, over 300 municipalities have already opted out of recreational cannabis businesses.

State Regulations Are Released, Now What?

Some municipality board’s stated they will reconsider after state regulations are released. So now, municipality action will be telling –

  • Municipalities choosing to wait for state government regulations before defining local laws and zoning ordinances is good policy making
  • Municipalities not using Proposal 1 voting results in their jurisdiction to define recreational cannabis laws and zoning ordinances is bad policy making
  • Where residents have voted in favor of Proposal 1, municipality board’s voting to opt out of allowing recreational cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction are voting to opt in to allowing the underground market

A thriving legal cannabis market hinges on municipalities allowing these businesses in their communities. Otherwise, it significantly limits potential locations and inventory for cannabis businesses. 

The Power of Zoning and Cannabis Business Inventory

If municipalities vote to allow cannabis businesses then they develop the zoning ordinance. Zoning ordinances delineate acceptable areas for residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural. Additionally, zoning ordinances define things like signage, sidewalks, street lights, and distance between other businesses.

Michigan Can Learn From California

As a result of California’s strong underground market legislators are considering a bill to force municipalities to allow cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction if their citizens voted in favor of legalization. California could be setting a precedent for other states.

TL;DR With state regulations available municipalities should revisit allowing cannabis businesses in their communities based on Proposal 1 voting results.