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Marijuana in Michigan:

1972 Ann Arbor removes criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

2008 Voters approve the Compassionate Care Initiative 63 percent to 37 percent, allowing medical marijuana in Michigan. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

2012 Cities begin to decriminalize marijuana in local ordinances: Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids in 2012; Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing in 2013; Hazel Park, Oak Park, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Ridge, Port Huron and Saginaw in 2014; East Lansing, Portage, and Keego Harbor in 2015. In 2012, Ypsilanti made marijuana enforcement a low priority and Kalamazoo lowered penalties.

2017 Laws allowing five different types of medical marijuana licenses will take effect in mid December.

2017 Petition drive is underway to place a proposal on the 2018 ballot to legalize recreational marijuana.

Most communities across the state are taking a wait and see approach to new regulations that take effect in December that changes medical marijuana licensing and requires local zoning to allow medical marijuana operations.

Medical marijuana businesses won be able to set up shop in local communities unless local zoning allows it.

From the new regulations to municipal zoning to real estate negotiations, lawyers are stepping up to help both entrepreneurs and local governments navigate the changes.

In Oakland County so far, only Hazel Park is moving to draft an ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses under new regulations scheduled to be effective in mid December.

these cities are taking their time, said Barton Morris, a Royal Oak attorney and founder of the Cannabis Legal Group. more that come on board, the surrounding areas are going to look at doing the same.

License applications for the five categories will be available starting Dec. 15. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board will begin issuing licenses in early 2018 following extensive background checks on possible businesses.

Right now, it a slow process with many communities taking a wait and see approach until the regulations are published.

The Cannabis Legal Group is keeping track of which municipalities have adopted ordinances, which are likely to, and which aren expected to.

So far, only seven Michigan communities have adopted ordinances that would allow medical marijuana facilities under the new regulations, according to the Cannabis Legal Group.

But another 24 communities are expected to pass ordinances allowing them.

Clare, in mid Michigan, is among those expected to. Clare proposed ordinance doesn directly limit the number of facilities, but requires them to be 1,000 feet away from residential areas and schools.

However, the ordinance in the Thumb area Pinconning Township sets limits of 25 growers, 25 processors, 10 provisioning centers, two safety compliance facilities, and four secure transporter permits.

The dilemma for communities is whether they want medical marijuana facilities in their communities or forego tax revenues the new regulations are expected to generate.

Under the new regulations, the state will be collecting both a 3 percent excise tax as well as the normal 6 percent sales tax together generating possibly as much as $64 million a year.

The excise tax is estimated to generate $21 million, to be split between the state, and the municipalities and counties where medical marijuana facilities are located.

A Senate Fiscal Agency analysis estimates counties will split $6.5 million depending on how many facilities are located within their borders, and municipalities will split another $5.3 million.

Rocky Road

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008 but it has been anything but a smooth road since.

It was left to state lawmakers to pass regulations to reflect the ballot proposal voters passed. But more often than not, it was criminal prosecutions and judicial interpretations that interpreted the ballot proposal once medical marijuana places began to spring up.

Law enforcement has been particularly aggressive in Oakland County against any type of storefront that could be called a dispensary. In Wayne County, however, particularly in Detroit, dispensaries have had an easier time, despite a ruling by the state attorney general that the ballot proposal didn provide for them.

The Village of Holly in Oakland County is among those communities that have decided to take a wait and see approach, deciding in August to take a year before deciding whether to allow medical marijuana businesses or not under the new regulations.
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