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July 25, 2019 Minutes

Thursday, July 25, 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 25, 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
City Commission Members absent:  Commissioner Downey
Planning Commission Members present: Kevin Barker and Ralph McDonald
Staff present:        City Manager Bill Marx and City Zoning Administrator Debra Patzer
Guests/Visitors present:  Jim Finley, Chris Fanta, Rick Paniagua, Ed Graveline, Jason Manwarren, Alan Robandt, Dan Vigansky, and others

Meeting opened with acknowledgement of the passing of longtime Planning Commission member, Richard Gault.

Patzer reviewed findings from medical marijuana permit holders regarding their intentions for entering the adult use market.  Shared progress on adult use Ordinance creation and desire to model adult use Ordinance after current medical marijuana Ordinance.  Special use permit from Planning Commission would be obtained before permit from City.  Zoning Ordinance would need amendment.  Growers and processors would be limited to industrial locations while retail would be located in C2 and C3.  Safety compliance and secure transporter facilities would be located in industrial.  Microbusinesses are growers, processors and retail in one location and would need special consideration.  Temporary marijuana events and consumption establishments are not defined within the law which allows for creativity. It was noted current medical marijuana businesses would need to apply for adult use permits.

The Mayor distributed article regarding public health issues surrounding adult use legalization.

Denison inquired as to how microbusinesses would accommodate growing, processing and sales in one location from an electrical consumption standpoint. It was noted grow would be the most energy consuming part of a microbusiness.  Having retail locations at existing grow facilities was discussed. Microbusiness process was explained by Jason Manwarren; it was noted that there are many questions surrounding microbusinesses.  Paniagua noted the differences between adult use and recreational use; a significant number of adults use marijuana recreationally in a medical way for health/wellness benefits without obtaining cards from medical providers.  Microbusinesses can only sell product they grow on site; they cannot sell products from other producers.  Weedon noted that not all microbusinesses would not necessarily include consumption and Ordinance could address the issue of how many consumption locations would be allowed.  Denison noted that consumption rooms, like cigar bars, would have HVAC to limit outside exposure to smoke and perhaps Ordinance should not limit adult consumption. Patzer commented that applicants should share their vision for how they will offer product to adults.  Barker noted that smoking cigarettes is only allowed in casinos and marijuana would follow the same rules.  Discussion of waiting to allow microbusinesses focused around uncertainties of what to expect. 
Patzer reiterated rules regarding locations of medical marijuana facilities would be the same for adult use facilities.  Temporary permits for marijuana events in public spaces was discussed.  Questions regarding adult use in private residences located in Drug Free School Zones were discussed; would marijuana be considered like alcohol.

Reviewed discussion from previous meeting regarding adult use permitting process priority for existing medical marijuana permit holders.  The number of total marijuana retail facilities was discussed.  It was noted that existing facilities would not pass up option to participate in adult use market.  Current permit holding provisioning centers were discussed.  It was noted that only one is currently open and some are waiting to see what will happen with adult use, while some are waiting on State licensing.  Patzer noted that the State is moving more quickly with adult use marijuana than with medical.  The City desires to be out in front of adult use and does not want to see empty buildings.  Concerns with condition of existing facilities appearance.  Concerns that parties are “sitting on” permits.  Consider checking in on current permits holder with State at pre-qualification list with LARA.  Noted there was confusion with medical marijuana process at State level which caused delays for various reasons. Noted giving existing permit holders priority for adult use permits would be more efficient because they are already operational entities. 

Discussion regarding incentives given by State to both Niles and Benton Harbor was discussed.  Both communities qualify because of income levels which will make cost of doing adult use business higher in Buchanan.  Number of adult use facilities is still up for consideration by Commission.  Noted that by giving existing permit holders priority, adult use facilities could be in industrial areas which could alleviate resident’s concerns regarding locations. Noted microbusiness are a separate issue.  

Noted stability of grow and processing facilities for community economic development. Noted that not allowing for adult use would put City at disadvantage for business. Currently business owner noted his facility is large enough to accommodate both medical and recreational.  Noted microbusinesses should be considered like a microbrewery.  Suggested cutting back on traditional retail locations and increasing the number of microbusinesses.  Higher quality microbusiness would be favored over “Cheech and Chong style” retail stores.  Odor control is a concern of microbusiness in downtown areas.  Having adult consumption events in industrial parks and not in downtown spaces would be preferred for families.  Many ideas and concerns were discussed.

Mayor suggested finding sample Ordinances and giving them to Patzer. Plans for next meeting and public hearing were discussed. Framework for Ordinance is being prepared. 

Next meeting to take place on Thursday, August 8 at 6:00 p.m.
 Mayor adjourned meeting at 7:12 p.m.

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

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