Meridian Township officials discuss plans for recreational marijuana ordinances

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Attorney Matthew Kuschel speaks to the members of the Meridian Township board. Photo by HOM.TV

The Meridian Township Board discussed the creation of recreational marijuana ordinances for Meridian Township at their Feb. 7 regular meeting.

“We’re creating a new article in the chapter proposal which would permit and regulate recreational marijuana,” said Attorney Matthew Kuschel. 

A 3-part proposal was presented to the board regarding the recreational ordinances.

There are current ordinances in place since 2019 that prohibit recreational marijuana establishments, but those ordinances have to be updated in order to allow recreational marijuana facilities. 

“The zoning ordinance would utilize the existing structures we have in the current ordinance,” said Community Planning and Development Director Tim Schmitt. “It would remove the references to medical marijuana.”

Schmitt said that there can be no signs outside the store that include the words marijuana or cannabis. 

“The planning commission included prohibition on drive-through uses in a 2000 foot buffer from any other licensed from us,” said Schmitt. 

Schmitt said there are modifications that have to be done to the medical licensing code to bring it into compliance with the new changes in addition to the other changes. 

“The actual application contents themselves are very much the same to what you have in the medical ordinance, but the application process will be substantially different from what is in the medical,” Kuschel said. 

Kuschel explained a lottery that would normally be used for medical licenses can no longer be used if there are multiple applications in a recreational context. 

“How the board rates the applicants, what qualities are important to consider whether they should operate in this township are all competitive review factors, all lot of those discussions would be coming later or separate from the ordinance,” Kuschel said. 

Jamie Carmel is a representative of one of the medical permit holders and said they just had their permit reinstated and they are in active construction on building their cannabis business.

“We are hopeful that that coincides with the passing of an ordinance and issuance of a license so that we can get to working towards the goal of promoting a thriving business here, jobs, tax benefits and all that good stuff,” Carmel said. 

The board plans on having a study session and another meeting to discuss the ordinances in more depth before the ordinances are put into place in the township.