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Brighton council to discuss marijuana ordinance at special meeting tonight

City officials in Brighton will meet tonight to discuss whether they should continue to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses inside the city.

Currently, marijuana businesses are not permitted in the city, which previously opted out under Michigan’s recreational marijuana law. After being instructed by council to review the current ordinance and create a draft replacement, the city’s planning commission declined to do so and instead drafted a list of considerations about how marijuana businesses could be regulated.

Opposition to that possibility has arisen from several directions, including the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education, which last November passed a resolution opposing such businesses in the city and surrounding communities to “help protect our students from the negative consequences of marijuana use by prohibiting marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.”

Brighton Councilwoman Susan Gardner also spoke out against allowing the businesses when she addressed the Livingston County Board of Commissioners last month, noting information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how marijuana use can harm developing brains.

However, Hartland Township resident Jerry Millen, owner of The Greenhouse in Walled Lake, is rallying supporters of allowing commercial marijuana businesses to attend tonight’s meeting. Full disclosure; The Greenhouse is a paid advertiser on the Mike & Jon podcast.

In a letter to the community, Millen said there has been a “small, but very vocal anti-cannabis group within the city. They are at every city council meeting and are not shy about making their presence known. They paint a picture of cannabis users being “low-lifes” and criminals. They do everything in their power to make the city council believe that State licensed stores like the Greenhouse bring nothing to a city but crime and depravity.”

Millen says that depiction “couldn’t be further from the truth” and asks residents to show up and “show the city council that cannabis users are good, decent people. We’re not “stoners and criminals. We’re their friends. Their family. Their neighbors.”

Millen warns that if the council keeps the city opted out, special interest groups would likely begin a ballot initiative to let voters decide, much like what happened in Pinckney, taking the process out of the city’s control.

The special meeting of the Brighton City Council to discuss the issue is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Brighton Community Center, 555 Brighton St.

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