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July 18, 2019 City and Planning Commission Work Session Minutes

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Joint Meeting of the City Commission and Planning Commission for the City of Buchanan was scheduled at City Hall, 302 N. Redbud Trail, Buchanan, Michigan Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.  The Mayor called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. 

City Commission Members present: Mayor Moore, Commissioners Toerne, Weedon, and Denison
Planning Commission Member present: Kevin Barker
Staff present:        City Manager Bill Marx, City Zoning Administrator Debra Patzer and City Clerk Brenda Hess
Guests/Visitors present:   Approximately 12

Marx reviewed the existing medical marijuana structure.  Acknowledged complexities in regard to establishments designed for adult recreational use. Opened discussion for adult recreational marijuana use.

Patzer distributed copies and reviewed section 6.1 of new law. Reviewed what municipalities can/can’t do regarding adult use by way of Ordinance.  Noted adult use locations referred to as “establishments”.  Referred members to the City of Manistee’s Police Power Ordinance for adult recreational use provided prior to the meeting.  Reminded all of need for both Police Power and Zoning special use ordinances for adult use.  Suggested following same application model City uses for medical marijuana.  State Statue dictates medical marijuana license holders have priority to obtain adult use licenses. City should consider same procedure.  Need to address public consumption issues.  City needs to establish competitive process for those wishing to obtain permits. 

Marx clarified these are beginning conversations and there are many questions.  Noted City has existing solid structure for medical marijuana permitting.  Added the City could “dip toe in water” by allowing existing medical marijuana facilities to begin selling adult use product with a review of progress after a year. 

Patzer provided update on the status of 4 dispensaries which have received permits but have not opened. Patzer explained renewal process and how State delayed progress for most. Clarified permit holders have being working on their properties while waiting for State approval.  

Revenue was discussed. Dispensary owner, Billy Breen commented currently dispensaries run on cash basis with all transactions tracked by State from “seed to sale”.  It was noted recreational marijuana will have 10% tax added to each sale. Because City will have points of sale and will be entitled to a portion of revenue.  Barker noted possibly collecting a local tax on sales within the City limits could provide a solid revenue stream.  Communities that “opt in” and have locations will share revenue.  Municipalities who do not have adult use locations will be excluded.

Patzer clarified according to State law, during first 24 months of legality, priority is given to established medical marijuana facilities to obtain adult use licenses.  Reviewed process of how to enact adult use Ordinance.  

It was noted State has not had a “good track record” with revenue sharing. Municipalities should not count on State sharing adult use funds.  Some municipalities are lowering fees for adult use permits.  Marx will investigate collecting a local tax, as well as contacting the existing medical dispensaries inquiring if they would consider providing adult use product.  Audience member noted recreational and medical facilities no longer need to be separated in single location.  Another noted emergency rules address the charge for licenses.  Different scenarios for charging fees were discussed.

Barker inquired if recreational licenses were not used by existing dispensaries, would the adult use permits be issued to existing growers of medical marijuana product. David Murray of Redbud Roots, owner of several grow facilities, commented his organization would be interested in having a dispensary. Ed Graveline, of Seven Engines, a grow facility owner, commented if he could not sell adult use product from his growing facility, he would be interested in having a way to educate the public at his facility.  Adult use microbusinesses located at existing grows operations were discussed.  Marx noted idea would be to distribute adult use product through existing medical facilities which already have committed to having business in the City. 

Marx noted the need to schedule meetings for more input.  Murray encouraged both Commissions to create clear Ordinances regarding the separation of recreational and medical.  It was noted that currently planning for the adult use market is like “the wild west”.  Currently medical product is higher in potency than recreational.  Lines are currently blurred between medical and recreational. Breen noted purchase limits will most likely be imposed on recreational.  Weedon commented regarding packaging to deter underaged use of edibles. 

Group agreed adult use events and consumption rooms are hot button issues.  Denison expressed concern about consumption at the Common.  Differences between consumption rooms and “beer gardens” were discussed.  Public consumption of adult product is prohibited by State law at this point for medical and recreational.  Consumption rooms can operate like a micro-brewery at this point; odors are a concern. Rick Paniagua, of Om Buchanan, LLC, a dispensary, encouraged creativity in allowing adult use which could be in the form of restaurants with marijuana infused entrees.  Colorado law allows for public consumption in the form of edibles and vaping.  Moore encouraged creation of glossary with definitions, so terms and definitions are clear to all in the process of creating Ordinances. Graveline commented that not every adult use establishment type has to be permitted all at once.  

Patzer suggested the creation of an Ordinance framework/rough draft to be discussed. Public comment would also be scheduled.  

Barker inquired if marijuana was to be restricted in price as alcohol is currently. It was noted an Ordinance must be prepared by the end of November.  It was also noted Planning Commission members will need to improve meeting attendance in order to be educated about adult use consumption. Barker commented on desire to see additional non-marijuana destinations located in City. 

Moore asked for final comments.  Patzer noted City needs to have Ordinances which reflect community values.  Barker commented on the need to have participation from more community members. Denison commented he was not aware of meeting until seeing it on website. 

Next meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.  Future meetings will be planned for better attendance.  

Meeting concluded at 7:21 p.m.

____________________________            ____________________________
Brenda J. Hess                        Patricia Moore, Mayor
City Clerk                            

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