Recreational marijuana ballot proposal accepted at city commission

Mount Pleasant City Commission is pictured Monday, Aug. 12 at City Hall. (Hunter McLaren | Associate Editor)

Recreational marijuana retailers could soon be on their way to Mount Pleasant.  

Mount Pleasant city commissioners accepted a ballot initiative regarding adult-use marijuana establishments to get the topic on the Nov. 6, 2019 ballot at its meeting Monday, August 12. 

If passed, the proposal would allow up to five marijuana retailers and an unlimited number of growers, processers, transporters, microbusinesses and consumption establishments in the county, according to city documents. It will also require the city to issue a medical marijuana license to the same establishment, according to the city documents. 

The proposal’s ballot language must be submitted to Isabella County by Aug. 13. The motion passed with a 7-0 vote. 

The initiative petition earned 324 signatures from valid city residents, which represented 5.1 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last election, according to city documents. 

Local business owner and marijuana advocate Brandon McQueen filed the petition for initiation of a municipal ordinance in July. He only needed to request signatures on the west side of town, he said. 

Chief Larry Klaus of the Central Michigan University Police Department asked for tweaks to the petition initiative when asked for comment by the city. 

Klaus requested a limit to the number of dispensaries during the first years in practice to evaluate the process and see how it affects the community, according to a letter to the city. 

Marijuana use is not permitted on Central Michigan University’s campus. 

McQueen said many local police departments around the state are also requesting similar limitations.

After the meeting, commissioners discussed details of a city regulatory ordinance that would govern local recreational marijuana rules and regulations in case the ballot initiative doesn’t pass. As of now, the city wants to allow three retailers, City Manager Nancy Ridley said. 

That number does not include microbusinesses, typically locally-owned growing and selling operations, which were also discussed during a work session. City commissioners said they wanted to get this legislation introduced and passed before the November election.