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Brighton council to decide language for marijuana ordinance

A special meeting of the Brighton City Council is set for Monday night to review and potentially approve ballot language for the sale of recreational marijuana.

The meeting follows an order by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty that the city to place on the November ballot an initiative led by a citizen group which collected enough signatures to do so.

The group that circulated the petitions, the Say Yes to Brighton Committee, took the city to court after City Clerk Tara Brown denied the petitions citing a formatting error in which a required warning appeared in the wrong place.

City council had considered an appeal of Judge Hatty’s order, but voted 4-3 in a closed session last week to accept it and then schedule Monday’s special meeting.

The Say Yes to Brighton Committee gathered  746 signatures seeking to repeal the city’s ban on adult-use retail marijuana establishments and allow at least two dispensaries within city limits.

John Janiszewski, an attorney representing Say Yes to Brighton Committee, with Detroit-based law firm Dykema Gossett, told the Livingston Daily that Hatty’s ruling “compels the city clerk to affirmatively act in a manner consistent with his ruling, meaning they have to certify everything and place the language on the ballot.”

The ordinance would, among other things:

• allow a minimum of two adult-use marihuana retail establishments with delivery service, drive through, and exterior walk-up windows as authorized by state rules;

• authorize a marihuana establishment license for an individual or entity who holds a state license to operate in the city and who has obtained pre-qualification from the state within 30 days after the ballot wording for this proposal was certified to the county clerk;

• allow marihuana activities only within a building located on a parcel in which the individual or entity to hold the state license to operate has a recorded interest and state pre-qualification status before 30 days after the ballot wording of this ballot question is certified to the county clerk;

• prohibit commercial marihuana related activities within 800 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12 or a pre-existing park of more than one acre in size;

• authorize the city to enact related police power and zoning regulations, except those that are unreasonably impracticable or that conflict with the initiated ordinance or the state’s laws and regulations related to adult-use marihuana establishments; and

• repeal any city ordinances that conflict with this ordinance to the extent necessary to give this ordinance full force and effect.

City council previously considered lifting the city’s ban on marijuana businesses, but eventually decided to keep the ban in place.

At the time, Hartland Township resident Jerry Millen, owner of The Greenhouse dispensary in Walled Lake, warned city officials that if the council kept the city opted out, special interest groups would likely begin a ballot initiative to let voters decide.

Millen tells GIGO News that he is not behind the Say Yes to Brighton Committee, but says the exact scenario he predicted has come to pass with little to no information available about exactly who is behind the committee.

“Whoever is behind the ballot initiative is not a resident of our community and is definitely an outsider,” said Millen. “That’s why I believe that the Brighton city Council should get ahead of the situation put an ordinance in place. That way our entire community knows exactly what to expect.   It’s important to work with the community and the local govt to assure that good people and good companies are allowed to operate in our City.  It’s not if but when just look at what happened in Pinckney!”

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