BRIGHTON — City Council voted Thursday to hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would license a maximum of two marijuana stores and regulate the retail trade of adult recreational marijuana in the city.
The council has set a hearing for Nov. 10 to consider the proposed ordinance, which, if approved, would overturn the city’s current ban on recreational sales. The public hearing will take place after city voters decide Nov. 8 whether to approve a separate ballot proposal that would allow at least two marijuana stores in the city.
City officials could decide to approve or deny the proposed ordinance, whether or not voters approve of the ballot proposal.
The ballot proposal would also give the city the power to enact zoning bylaws, establish an application process for potential marijuana store operators and enact police powers. If voters approve the ballot proposal, city officials could pass the proposed ordinance to establish rules for the retail sale of marijuana in the city.
The city council also voted on Thursday to move its meeting from Nov. 3 to Nov. 10 to hold the public hearing after the election.
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Council Member Paul Gibson introduced the motion, which received unanimous support. Gibson also asked city staff and attorneys to clarify a paragraph in the proposed ordinance.
Pro Tem Mayor Jim Bohn said city officials also requested updated city maps showing 800-foot buffer zones around schools where marijuana stores would be banned under the election proposal. Current city maps show 1,000 foot buffers around schools.
Bohn said he couldn’t guess whether the city council would approve the proposed ordinance.
The representative of the “Say yes” voting group takes the floor
A group with ties to marijuana industry professionals, Say Yes to Brighton Committee, promoted the ballot initiative, collecting signatures and then suing the town to get it on the ballot.
One of the backers, Joey Kejbou, attended Thursday’s meeting and expressed concern during public comments that the city’s proposed ordinance would “effectively nullify the will of voters.”
“I just don’t think undermining the voting process is in the spirit of the democratic process,” he said.
He said the city’s proposed pads would make it “impossible” to retail marijuana in the city.
City ordinance would prohibit stores within 800 feet of public and private K-12 schools, parks, playgrounds, churches, licensed substance use disorder treatment program of State and “of an establishment that regularly offers on-site cultural, educational, artistic, sporting, social, recreational or advisory programs and services intended primarily for persons 18 years of age and under.”
The ballot proposal only includes 800-foot buffers from schools and parks larger than 1 acre.
Kejbou is a lawyer and co-owner of several marijuana businesses who is also associated with Canna Zoned MLS, a commercial real estate company for the cannabis industry that lists existing businesses and properties approved for commercial marijuana operations.
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He said Livingston’s Daily earlier this year he is acting as general counsel for the Say Yes to Brighton committee and has no personal interest in any marijuana business in Brighton.
Bohn told the Livingston Daily on Friday morning that he disagreed with Kejbou’s comments accusing city officials of trying to undermine the democratic process.
“I don’t feel like that,” Bohn said. “We’re trying to establish order and process. I have no idea what’s going to happen” during the city’s November 10 public hearing.
What does the draft by-law contain?
As proposed, the city’s ordinance would only authorize two marijuana retail locations and would go into effect Dec. 1.
All other types of marijuana businesses would be banned. No growers, processors, secure transporters, safety compliance establishments or micro-enterprises would be allowed in the city.
Medical marijuana businesses would be banned.
It also establishes a process for how potential marijuana store operators could apply for permission and special land use permits from the city, as well as an application scoring system.
As drafted, it would prohibit drive-thru establishments, walk-in counters and mobile establishments.
Residential uses in the same building would also be prohibited, according to the draft ordinance.
The draft also recommends that opening hours be limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The draft, which contains additional bylaws, is available on the city’s website in the meeting package for Thursday’s city council meeting.
What’s in the ballot?
If passed by voters, the ballot proposal would repeal the city’s ban on marijuana businesses and allow at least two marijuana stores.
It would come into force on December 1.
The ballot proposal says companies would be allowed to offer delivery, drive-thru and outdoor windows.
It would also allow the city to issue policing and zoning regulations related to marijuana businesses.
It states that marijuana stores would only be permitted if the person or entity holding the state license obtained pre-qualification from the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency within 30 days of the license. certification of the language of the ballot to the county clerk. It also states that the person or entity holding the state license must have a registered interest in the property.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Eberbach at [email protected]