The state's muddied laws have been sorted out, and Battle Creek officials now will discuss what steps — if any — to take on regulating medical marijuana within city limits.
Discussions on whether to allow dispensaries and other medical marijuana operations will be the subject of a City Commission workshop this month. The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. May 16 in City Hall's Commission Chambers, 10 N. Division St. It will be followed by the commission's regular meeting at 7 p.m.
Commissioners do not take formal action at workshops. Any vote on medical marijuana ordinances would take place at a City Commission meeting.
The workshop comes after Gov. Rick Snyder signed laws in September that allow municipalities to decide whether to allow dispensaries, also referred to as provisioning centers, within their jurisdiction. Local governments also can allow growers, processors, transporters and safety compliance facilities.
A licensing process won't be in place until the end of the year, but if municipalities choose to allow medical marijuana operations, they could charge as much as $5,000 for annual licensing fees, according to the Michigan Municipal League.
Fleury said city officials have been flooded with calls from investors, including from out of state, who are interested in launching medical marijuana facilities in Battle Creek.
It's projected the state's new laws will generate $711 million in sales and $21 million in additional tax revenue.
While other municipalities have chosen to ignore dispensaries prior to the signing of last year's new laws, Calhoun County has gone after them. In 2013, police raided three Springfield facilities: the Karmacy at 4549 W. Dickman Road; the Southwest Compassion Care Center at 700 N. 20th St.; and Happy Daze at 695 N. 20th St.
Offices alleged the dispensaries were not operating within the framework of the state's medical marijuana law.
Charges were dismissed against the Karmacy employees in January.
Springfield City Manager Nathan Henne said city offices have been getting a large volume of calls about medical marijuana. City Council plans to discuss the issue in June.
Tax revenue estimates for individual Michigan cities have not been entirely accurate, Henne said, and seem to be based on how medical marijuana was unrolled in Colorado years ago.
"It's anyone's best guess on how much Springfield would get from that," he said.
Possession of marijuana remains a criminal offense in Battle Creek.
Here's how medical marijuana is being discussed in other Calhoun County municipalities:
City of Marshall: Marshall City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz said officials have received about a half-dozen calls. City Council will begin discussions on a possible ordinance on May 15, when Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert is expected to give a presentation.
City of Albion: Albion City Council discussed medical marijuana last month with its city attorney, who recommended members revisit the issue next year. No action is expected until after December, City Manager Sheryl Mitchell said.
Pennfield: Supervisor Dave Morgan said the township has received "very few" calls about medical marijuana facilities. "But we are being proactive in learning as much as possible and negative effects any new ordinance might have on our township," he said. Pennfield's board does not have any immediate plans to consider the issue.
Emmett: The township has received some calls and has created a draft ordinance that has not been voted upon. "We feel that since there are so many medical issues helped by products like medical marijuana, it makes some sense to in the very least look into what the state is asking municipalities to have ready by (the end of the year)," Supervisor Tim Hill said.
Bedford: Supervisor Adam Heikkila said the township has received a couple calls from law firms. The issue will be discussed at the Planning Commission's next meeting before any recommendation is considered by the township board.