Some councilmembers want to look at each case independently
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The City Council declined Councilmember Joe Jackson’s May 4 motion to extend the city’s marijuana facility moratorium through Dec. 1, 2023, with some preferring to review each business proposal independently.
Jackson’s motion was to keep the current moratorium that the city has in place.
Jackson and Councilmember Stan Filipowski voted to extend the moratorium, with Councilmembers Julie Rauser, Scott Frederick, Steven Densmore and Dawn Cartrette opposed.
Rauser said the council needs to have a written policy which would allow the body to consider a business proposal brought to them.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said if the council simply extends the moratorium, then it doesn’t have to begin the process of getting the language of a policy regarding marijuana facilities approved by state officials.
“As long as we don’t have to enter into that language, and spend the time doing it, we can cross that bridge when it comes forward that we have to act,” he said.
City Attorney Lawrence Coogan said that, typically, something like this is accompanied by a referendum.
“The city council can approve it, they can put it on the ballot, or individuals can circulate a petition,” he said. “That language has to be approved by the attorney general’s office, as well as the governor’s office.”
Coogan said the process can take months.
“At this point, I don’t foresee it being on the August primary ballot this year,” he said. “It is possible something can be done for the November midterm if we can get some language together.”
Marsee said he thinks Melvindale residents would vote down any proposed marijuana facilities.
Coogan confirmed that the city’s current moratorium opts out of any type of marijuana businesses, whether cultivation and growing; processing; testing, compliance and safety labs; transporters; or sellers and provisioners.
He said the council could make a motion to address an aspect of the issue at any time in the future.