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Recent ordinance passages raises questions

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet Village Clerk Kevin Wier informed the council Tuesday of the village having received an Adult Use Marijuana Facility Authorization Application earlier this month. The application raised a number of procedural questions that must referred back to the Village Planning Commission.

CALUMET — The Adult Use Marijuana Facility Ordinance that was passed in October was the cause of some questions of uncertainty at the regular meeting of the Village Council Tuesday. The questions arose in response to a Facility Authorization Application received by the village on Jan. 6.

Village Clerk Kevin Weir requested clarification on the ordinance language, stating the $5,000 application fee was non-refundable.

Trustee Roxanne King replied, saying that the commission had addressed the issue of the handling process of permits for various types of businesses within the village, and objected to a marijuana facility needing to apply for a special use permit.

“This was before the Planning Commission, when you were discussing having a marijuana use permit at all,” King said, “that it was our opinion that this is a retail establishment of a legal substance, according to the state of Michigan, and that it shouldn’t need a conditional use permit anymore than Bucko’s does.”

Bucko’s Party Store, she said, is required by state law to have a liquor license, but does not need a conditional use permit to operate as a retail store.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission was created with the repeal of Prohibition by the legislature acting in special session in December of 1933. The act empowered the Commission to control all alcoholic beverage traffic within this state. As recreational marijuana use went into effect in December, 2018, pot is currently viewed as a separate substance than alcohol.

“Essentially,” King said, “we were issuing the permit to do the marijuana use at all, it would be covered as a retail product, and the store would be a retail store, or it might be considered the equivalent of a cigar bar, if it had the air cleaning capabilities that a cigar bar is required to have. In any case, it should not need a special use permit beyond the permit to sell marijuana at all.”

Village President Dave Geisler responded, saying someone else had recently raised the same question, and it was a question the Planning Commission must answer.

“I’m just saying that the Planning Commission has already addressed that and said that,” said King. “The village already has a permanent place saying they can sell marijuana from a retail establishment inside the village, and they’re in the commercial district in the village. I would be interested in seeing what their argument is.

“The question is, if it’s not specifically listed, which would be their main argument, do we go down and tell every business that’s not specifically listed that they’re in violation and they’re out of business.”

Geisler then elaborated on his previous statement.

“Someone else just raised that issue based on our quote, ‘zoning ordinance,’ and there is some validity to the argument,” he explained, “so it does have to go back to the Planning Commission. It is not a decision for the council to make.

“I understand your argument, but it is still a Planning Commission responsibility.”

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