[Canniseur: Way to go Muskegon! Muskegon even beat Ann Arbor in opening the first public cannabis consumption place. Perhaps Muskegon wants to be the Amsterdam of Michigan…the west coast of Michigan, that is, as they’ll have to compete with Ann Arbor. Muskegon is right up there with Las Vegas.]
Like most other adult-use states, Michigan’s new recreational cannabis program allows towns and cities to “opt-out” of allowing legal weed to descend upon their turf. As of this summer, 522 out of 1,773 communities in the Great Lake State have chosen to do so, citing concerns ranging from lack of retail space and confusion over the new adult-use laws, to fears over weed getting into the hands of children.
Not every Michigan city is saying no to weed, however. The Muskegon City Commission just voted 5-2 to approve an ordinance that fully welcomes legal pot. This ordinance closely mirrors the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, allowing recreational cannabis shops to open in the same area of the city that currently hosts medical cannabis dispensaries. Legal weed sales will be subject to a 6 percent sales tax and a 10 percent excise tax.
The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is currently working to finalize its application process for adult-use business licenses by November 1st, and the first licenses are expected to be granted later that month. For the first year or so of legal adult-use sales, most licenses will be given to current medical marijuana license holders, allowing existing medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling recreational weed.
Muskegon’s new ordinance takes a step beyond simply allowing legal weed sales, though. The city will allow “designated consumption establishments” and temporary cannabis events — in other words, cannabis lounges and weed parties. The ordinance allows micro-businesses (which are currently allowed to grow up to 150 plants and sell weed to adults) to apply for a license that lets customers smoke pot in their establishments between 8am and midnight. It is currently unclear whether the state will allow these public cannabis lounges to serve food and drinks, however.
Muskegon will also allow marijuana license holders to organize licensed cannabis events, which can last for as long as a week. These events can be held at any location where pot can be legally consumed or sold, within the city district where cannabis stores are legal. These events are not restricted to being indoors only, and can be held in parking lots, roads, or other public places, as long as the organizer receives the proper state and local permits.
The ordinance also requires all cannabis businesses to invest in beautifying the area around their business. Growers, processors, and transporters are required to purchase and install at least one decorative street lamp per 30 feet of road in front of their business. All cannabis businesses must also cough up for the cost of adding at least one bench, bike rack, trash can, or bus shelter on their business site.