Alpena Township to hold public hearing on marijuana | News, Sports, Jobs

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ALPENA – The sale of adult-use marijuana in Alpena Township could move one step closer to reality Monday night.

The township’s planning commission is hosting a public hearing for proposed amendments to its zoning ordinance that, if approved, may clear the way for marijuana businesses to open.

The planning commission has worked for months with the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments to update the zoning and establish where marijuana businesses can open and set rules and guidance for them.

The full board of trustees needs to approve the amendment ordinance for it to go into effect.

The proposed ordinance allows for developers who want to open a marijuana business to do so after receiving a license from the state and township. A special use permit from the township is also needed.

Most marijuana businesses will not be allowed to open in residential areas, with the exception of marijuana microbusinesses – a licensed person allowed to cultivate 150 or fewer marijuana plants, as well as process and package them. The microbusiness can then sell or otherwise transfer the drug to individuals who are 21 years old or older, or to a marijuana safety compliance facility. They can not sell to other marijuana establishments.

The amended ordinance, if passed, will restrict operating hours for provisioning centers, retailers, and microbusinesses from 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and will forbid sales within 500 feet of any building used for education, child care, or addiction treatment purposes or a park.

The planning commission may grant a reduction waiver in the separation distances in certain instances, if signed statements from each impacted property owner within the 500-foot limit is in agreement with the waiver.

Marijuana provisioning centers cannot utilize drive-thru to complete a transaction.

The township opted out of Proposal 1, which made it illegal for marijuana businesses to operate in the township.

Proposal 1 was passed by voters in Michigan in 2018 and legalized recreational use of marijuana but allowed municipalities to set their own rules pertaining to whether or not businesses can operate in them.

The legalization of recreational marijuana wasn’t as popular in the township as it was in many areas of the state, as the final vote tally in the township was 2,342 against legalization and 2,015 for.

Marijuana remains considered illegal as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government.

The planning commission meeting is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at the township office building.

Check back for updates.

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