Sylvan Township learns about the marijuana microbusiness

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Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

The Sylvan Township Board continues to investigate the idea of potentially allowing marijuana microbusinesses to set up shop in the township.

As part of this investigation, the township board got a presentation at its July 6 meeting from township attorney Robert Thall, who gave an overview of what microbusinesses are.

For some background, Thall said he has worked with other communities to help them set up regulations as it pertains to marijuana establishments. He said in the world of legal adult use marijuana the one area a community like Sylvan Township can regulate is with commercial establishments.

At this point, establishments dedicated to medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are not permitted in Sylvan.

Thall said establishments are defined as places that either grows, process, retail, transport, or test. Each one has different functions and processes in providing adult use of marijuana.

However, Thall said some of these can come together under one roof in the form of a microbusiness, which he described as vertically integrating the growing, processing and retail sales in one.

These establishments are a smaller scale business in that they are limited to growing no more than 150 plants, which they must use to process and then for retail.

Another difference with microbusinesses is under state law they are not limited to agricultural or industrial properties. The other establishments, who are solely dedicated to growing or processing or testing, are.

Thall said it’s up to the local governing board to establish where a microbusiness can set up shop, which could include a commercial area.

Throughout the state, some communities are allowing retail or microbusinesses because they can bring in new revenue from the excise tax that come with them and that are distributed back to the communities from the state.

Thall said a certain amount of tax dollars comes back to a community based on the number of retail or microbusinesses a community might have. This past year, he said the state doled out around $28,000 per retail or microbusiness license permitted in a community. He said he has seen some communities get back around $400,000 for this.

Those other establishments, such as those for processing, or growing or testing labs, are not under the excise tax, but they can create new jobs and redevelopment of industrial properties.

Another area where a municipality can see revenue is with an application and annual fee, which can be up to $5,000. However, this revenue can only be used for administration or enforcement of the marijuana regulations.

To allow micorbusinesses, Thall said the township would need to create a police power ordinance that can stipulate such things as what type of establishments are allowed and how many. There would also need to be a zoning ordinance to define and regulate such things as where an establishment can go.

It should be noted, the state of Michigan approves the licenses.

Sylvan Township Board Trustee Sandie Schulze said as they move forward the board needs to get a better idea what this looks like in reality. She asked Thall if he could offer some recommendations or suggestions of establishments they could to visit to see firsthand exactly how these businesses/establishments work.

Board trustee Kurt Koseck asked about the need for the fire department to review potential operations that use different chemicals, such as the ones doing the processing. Thall said this would be something that could be part of the process the township puts in place.

Township supervisor Kathleen Kennedy said this is an ongoing discussion and they will now look to talk with people involved to help them determine what they might propose to allow, if anything.

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