In the wake of marijuana legalization for medicinal and recreational use, several big cities and other larger communities have drastically altered their stance on the once-illegal substance. Even small towns and municipalities have begun changing their minds on the subject as well, further signifying how times are truly changing in all corners of the nation.

The following is a re-post of an article written by Crystal Nelson of the Alpena News

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HARRISVILLE — The Harrisville Planning Commission on Wednesday began discussing what officials would like the city’s medical and recreational marijuana ordinances to look like.

Tom Reif, consultant with the firm Michigan Municipal Cannabis Consultants, guided commissioners through an eight-page questionnaire that he will use to draft the city’s ordinances, which commissioners will review at a future date. The city is paying Reif $5,000 from its general fund to draft the ordinances after Harrisville became the first community in Northeast Michigan to vote to allow marijuana businesses within city limits.

Michigan voters legalized weed in November. The new state law allows local governments to prohibit marijuna businesses — many other Northeast Michigan governments have done so — but governments who prohibit such businesses will not receive a share of a state tax on pot sales.

Reif said being the first municipality in the area to allow recreational marijuana to be sold is a bit of a “novelty,” but that Harrisville officials will compete with everybody else who allows it.

“It’s a race, and that’s really how you need to look at it, is you want to grab as much as you can as fast as you can,” he said.

Planning commissioners agreed they generally wanted the same rules for both medical facilities and recreational establishments.

Planning commissioners said they would like to allow marijuana to be grown, processed, transported and sold at either a provisioning center that would sell medical marijuana or at a retailer that would sell recreational marijuana within city limits. Safety compliance facilities, which test marijuana for contaminants and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, and so-called micro-businesses, where a licensed operator can grow, process and sell marijuana on their property, could also operate within city limits.

Alderman Mike Baird said he did not want to prohibit those facilities from operating within the city because he doesn’t want to restrict the community from prospering.

Potential business owners could be charged $25 to receive application paperwork, a $500 non-refundable fee for applying for both a medical and recreational marijuana facility, and up to $5,000 a year for a permit. An annual permit renewal fee could also be required.

Planning commissioners expressed they would like the facilities to be secure and would require cameras at entrances, interiors and exteriors of the facilities. Each facility would need to be equipped with burglary alarms that are monitored professionally and have a safe affixed to the premises where all usable marijuana and cash would be stored overnight. Security recordings and documents would have to be preserved for a minimum of 48 hours under the working proposal discussed Wednesday.

Commissioners would prohibit the use of alcohol and tobacco on the property, as Reif cautioned that someone smoking a cigarette on the property could easily be misconstrued as someone smoking marijuana on the premises.

Reif said he would take information from Wednesday’s meeting and draft the ordinances for the Planning Commission and City Council to consider. He also will recommend amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance.

The Planning Commission would need to have a public hearing before they could amend their zoning ordinance.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at or 989-358-5687.

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