Houghton City Council Approves Ordinance For Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis Stores

While adult-use recreational cannabis provisioning centers are still not allowed in Houghton, Michigan, in the state’s Upper Peninsula, a city ordinance approved last week will regulate where they can be located.

In a 4-3 vote, the Houghton City Council approved the ordinance that requires provisioning centers to be at least 1000 feet from schools, churches and residential areas, effectively limiting pot shops to an area along Razorback Drive. The rules are similar to those applied to Medical Marijuana retailers. Only one of those exists now in Houghton. What’s more, the ordinance stipulates only one adult-use cannabis provisioning center can operate in Houghton.

“Unfortunately, we see a lot of situations where an MRTMA ordinance is passed with only one or a handful of companies in mind,” said Scott Roberts, principle of ScottRobertsLaw.Com. “While this may not be the case here, we will certainly see whether the City is serious about opening up to other cannabis businesses and amends their ordinance to allow more facilities…or not.”

The motion, as proposed earlier, would have sent the ordinance back to the Planning Commission to remove the one-retailer limit, as suggested by City Manager Eric Waara in an earlier memorandum.

But counselor Mike Needham asked for a vote to approve the ordinance as is. He previously pointed out that some 17 months had passed since Michigan voters approved recreational marijuana sales in 2018.

Mayor Pro Ten Robert Megowen said he was concerned about possible legal action from people who wanted to open an adult-use recreational provisioning center, but now were unfairly denied a chance.  Needham said the ordinance can be reviewed later.

City Manager Waara the ordinance “would likely be amended in the future to allow for more licenses.” The ordinance had been written before Michigan finalized the licensing procedure.

Other ordinances previously discussed will be on the May 13 City Council agenda, including an opt-in ordinance that would allow recreational cannabis stores in the city. But barred would be growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, secure transports or micro businesses.

Another ordinance would modify the medical marijuana ordinance to allow permitted medical marijuana center to share space with recreational retailers. But those products would have to be separate and clearly labeled. Adults 21 and over would be allowed in the store.

Northern Specialty Health, the only medical marijuana dispensary in the city, has indicated it would like to pursue recreational sales as well. 

Mike Brennan
Mike Brennan is Editor of Michigan Marijuana Report (mimarijuanareport) a cannabis, hemp and CBD news portal website for Michigan and the Great Lakes States. He has been a professional reporter and editor since 1981.

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