Mason prohibits marijuana facilities

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The Mason City Council passed legislation prohibiting the establishment of all marijuana facilities in December, but that will not be the last word on the issue.

Michigan voters approved a statewide proposition making the personal use of marijuana legal on Nov. 6, 2018. Mason’s City Council worked quickly to restrict the building of marijuana facilities and where they can be located.

On Dec. 17, City Council voted, 6-1, to exclude marijuana facilities within Mason. The ordinance took effect 20 days later.

Mayor Russ Whipple voted for the restriction and said he believes it is right for the community.

“The fit for Mason is definitely relevant,” Whipple said. “I never heard anyone say we should not opt out. The main reason we opted out was because the state has to put together legislation, and they have a year to do that.”

The vote left Council Member Rita Vogel as the odd women out. She said the city could benefit economically from the facilities.

“The decision was premature,” Vogel said. “To boldly block potential revenue, especially with increased city taxes, county taxes, plus a school bond and a new jail coming to Mason, it was absolutely absurd to not at least research.”

Despite the fact very few citizens publicly opposed the prohibition, some agree with Vogel.

Mike Perkins, a Mason resident for more than 20 years, cut to the chase:

“I believe Mason should allow a dispensary or dispensaries within the city limits,” Perkins said.

Mother and Mason resident Lisa Harris is concerned that people are unaware of the council’s decision.

“I think there is a lot of people who don’t know about this and would be interested to find out and object,” Harris said.

The restriction was introduced and read at the Dec. 3 city council meeting. It was announced at the Dec. 17 meeting that City Attorney Thomas M. Hitch said the prohibition would prevent legal issues.

Whipple said he wants to make it clear to property investors what businesses can be built.
“We are making sure anyone coming into Mason won’t speculate to put in marijuana facilities,” Whipple said.

Lansing created legislation to regulate the development of marijuana facilities. The City of Lansing does not wish to diminish the building of medical marijuana except through the requirement of a permit/license, according to Medical Marijuana Ordinance Chapter 1300.

Mason council members understand the state plans to release its own regulations and a cost/benefit analysis of marijuana facilities. Once done, the council has the right to allow marijuana facilities at any time. Until then, marijuana facilities will not be allowed in Mason under current regulations.

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