Municipalities approving medical pot in minority

CALUMET — A 2017 Village Council decision to take no action in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) opt-in sparked protest, closed a dispensary and led to a recall petition.

A recent report from the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLUSUP), found Calumet was with the majority of municipalities in declining to opt-in to the MMA.

As of this spring, the report states, three-quarters of Michigan’s local governments statewide reported prohibiting medical marijuana facilities in their jurisdiction.

Among these, 29 percent reported having passed a resolution formally opting out of the MMA, while 46 percent chose to take no action, which had the same effect as opting out. Calumet was one which took no action.

Meanwhile, 8 percent of Michigan cities, villages and townships report having passed a formal ordinance to opt-in, 16 percent report they have not made a decision either way, 9 percent say they are currently discussing the issue and 7 percent say it has not yet been discussed.

“We took a wait-and-see attitude, just like 95 percent of all jurisdictions in the U.P.,” Trustee Virginia Dwyer said, “so we’re not the only people that decided to do nothing at this time. I just want to make that clear.”

Dwyer said the council did not have the intention to say, “No to this forever, or this is yes forever.” It just discussed how to proceed.

According to the CLUSUP report, among Michigan’s largest jurisdictions — those with more than 30,000 residents — 14 percent reporting opting in, compared to 6 percent of the smallest jurisdictions (those with fewer than 1,500 residents).

The report also noted regional differences in how local governments are approaching the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Act. While 4 percent of jurisdictions in the northern Lower Peninsula and western central Michigan are most likely to opt-in, the number is higher in southwest Michigan (13 percent). In the Upper Peninsula, 10 percent of governments are likely to opt-in.