Kalamazoo may pump brakes on recreational pot

Marijuana in MI

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Kalamazoo is considering a proposal to delay allowing recreational marijuana businesses so officials have more time to establish a licensing process.

At their Monday meeting, city commissioners discussed an ordinance that would move the opt-in date for Kalamazoo back to June 1, 2020.

City Attorney Clyde Robinson says the time is needed to address regulations.

“At this point, let’s see where things settle, see what the road map looks like,” Robinson said. “Let’s here from what our community members are saying before we say yes to this.”

If the city eventually allows recreational marijuana businesses, it would be allowed to charge no more than $5,000 in licensing fees — that amount must reflect actual administrative costs. The state would collect a 10% tax.

The city attorney says the state is already planning a social equity component that makes licensing more affordable for people who otherwise would not be able to start a business.

“I know what the state is attempting to do but I don’t know that it goes far enough,” Robinson said.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Recreational marijuana in Michigan

Jevin Weyenberg, a business owner in the medical marijuana industry, does not want uncertainty to slow forward movement.

“With the grows and processors, I think there is a lot of certainty there and we should be allowed the flexibility to apply for that license,” Weyenberg said.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell said working out the city’s rules for recreational marijuana licensing will take time.

“Just like with medical, we had a number of things we dove into and sent back and reworded,” Hopewell said. “We’re in that same situation.”

Commissioners are expected to vote on the ordinance by the last meeting in October. They have to make a decision by Nov. 1, otherwise the city will be automatically opted in.

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