Commission Tables Marijuana Question

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have postponed a moratorium on allowing recreational marijuana businesses in the community. As the state prepares to accept applications from prospective recreational marijuana businesses, commissioners were asked last week to approve a ban that could be undone later once rules to govern those operations can be drafted. The body held off, wanting more discussion to take place in committee. This week, the issue was brought to the full body again, and once again, it was tabled for more committee discussion. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said a moratorium is needed while the state gets its act together.

“Cities have the ability to opt in or the ability to opt out, and that would allow for us based on our ordinance to prohibit people from setting up business and shop,” Muhammad said.

However, commissioners were concerned the language of the resolution was changed this around, being rewritten as an amendment to the alcohol ordinance instead of standing on its own. Therefore, the matter was tabled for more discussion before a November 1 deadline arrives. Michigan voters approved recreational marijuana last year. However, establishing the framework for marijuana businesses to open has been slow. According to Benton Harbor’s city attorney, around 900 local governments have opted out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses while the process works itself out.