Saline Considering Recreational Marijuana Licenses

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Recreational marijuana is in the works in Saline. The code review committee is currently working with the city attorney to draft language to present to Council, but it is unlikely to happen until next year.

Saline passed a resolution legalizing the sale of medicinal marijuana last June. The new policy is very likely to be almost a copy and paste version of that language, although there will likely be some changes. Once, and if, a version of this passes the code review committee, it would still need to be approved by both the planning commission and the full City Council.

“We just finished drafting an ordinance there that mirrors our regulatory and zoning ordinance for medical marijuana, [but] extends that out to a recreational application. So it is going to be closely aligned to what you saw [was] approved for medical marijuana,” City Councilor Jim Dell’Orco, who sits on the committee, said.

City Manager Colleen O’Toole said that there is no reason why an applicant could not apply for both licenses. And like the medicinal ordinance, the recreational one would not allow the growing of the plant, just its sale.

The term “provisioning centers” that dispense medical marijuana would be called “retailers” if the new ordinance passes, for example. Dell’Orco said that it was always presumed that passing medical marijuana ordinance would lead to a recreational marijuana ordinance, but there was some uncertainty that it would pass. He said that that is why the city has taken its time and talked to the community before proceeding.

Dell’Orco predicted that some councilors would be in favor of allowing recreational marijuana to be sold downtown, but that he opposes the idea. Like liquor stores, any marijuana establishment that sets up in Saline would have to be a set distance from houses of worship and or schools.

“The biggest challenge with downtown would actually be Henne Field, because that is technically school property,” O’Toole said. The way that the law “is defined is that it is any school property. It doesn’t just have to be a school building.”

Interestingly, Saline has not seen a single application to establish a medicinal marijuana establishment in the city since it was passed. Dell’Orco predicted that business applications would flood in if the recreational provision is passed next year, since recreational marijuana is more profitable than medicinal marijuana. Recreational marijuana would also produce more tax dollars for the City.

“Based on what I have heard from potential applicants, the main reason no applications have come in is due to finding a location for a business within the City. This is all secondhand information, but potential applicants have shared that some landlords are still hesitant about leasing to these types of businesses. Additionally, there [are] limited buildings [and] land for sale for a marijuana business to purchase within the districts they are looking to locate,” Assistant City Manager Mike Greene said by email.

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