Niles City Council introduces ordinance that would ban future medical marijuana establishments

NOW: Niles City Council introduces ordinance that would ban future medical marijuana establishments


NILES, Mich. -- The Niles City Council heard a first reading Monday night of a new ordinance that would completely prohibit future medical marijuana establishments within the city limits.

Niles has already approved several licenses to sell medical marijuana within the city and this new ordinance would not affect those.  Many are questioning what this would mean if voters decide to approve recreational marijuana use in Michigan.

Even though marijuana has become a hot topic around Michigan, the council spent little time on the topic during the meeting. There was only one public comment from Jill Meuninck who opposes the ordinance.

“Basically I wanted to know what the feeling was on the board in terms of why they were going to have a prohibition, because prohibition in my mind means one thing and perhaps to someone else it means something else," said Meuninck.

The ordinance would completely prohibit marijuana establishments within the city of Niles, except for those which licenses are currently pending under the medical marijuana facilities licensing act.

"We’re putting a stop to any new potential applications for medical marijuana facilities," said Councilman Robert Durm. "It doesn’t affect those that have already been applied for and have gone to the state of Michigan. It’s just so we can wait and see how the state is going to respond if recreational marijuana passes on the ballot.”

Durm was one of a handful of council members who spoke after the first reading. Many wanted to give clarification that they didn’t see this as a permanent ordinance, but rather one that would buy them time to see how the state moves forward with licensing.

"I think our intention as we talked at our last meeting is maybe loosening up the process initially just to apply for a license in the city and then we will send them off to the state now that we found the state is being a little stricter on approving licenses," said Durm.

Meuninck says she was happy with what she heard, but still has concerns.

"It gave me little bit more peace of mind, however once again something done is harder to undo than something that is done with its original intent.," said Meuninck. "So I would have preferred that they permanently tabled the issue.”

Those applicants who have already been approved by the city could still potentially open medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits if approved by the state. If the statewide ballot proposal to approve recreational use passes, then those medical shops could be approved to sell weed for recreational use as well.

The council will vote on this ordinance at its next meeting on November 12.

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