Monroe bans pot facilities ahead of Proposal 1 vote

- On Tuesday, voters will be asked if they want to approve recreational marijuana in Michigan, but council members in Monroe voted against pot facilities in their city even if the proposal passes.

Monroe could be trying to buy itself some time to figure how to move forward if Proposal 1 passes, or it could be the city's opening salvo in the weed wars. The city council voted to ban marijuana facilities in the event voters approve the recreational pot proposal Tuesday.

"The real issue isn't about yes or no it's about the land use and being prepared and making good decisions as a council if the vote does pass," said Monroe Mayor Robert Clark. 

He says the city will need time to figure out where it would allow dispensaries, grow facilities and labs to set up shop. According to state law, ballot initiatives are supposed to go into effect 10 days after the vote is certified. But it would be up to state lawmakers to come up with the rules for selling marijuana and it's unclear how long that would take. Even so, some Monroe residents are not buying it.

"By coming out with a city ordinance the night before the ballot is to be cast, is in my opinion unethical and dubious," said Matt Bunkelman.

Bunkelman says most people living in Monroe support Proposal 1 and if it passes, they'll have to travel outside the city to buy weed. It'll be a replay when medical marijuana was legalized and a buzzkill for would-be potrepreneurs.

"We have no facilities for those individuals. Everyone has to go to Wayne County, to Washtenaw County to spend their money, so there are no local business owners that have the opportunity to start a business here," he said.

Monroe's city council does not have a timeline for figuring out those land use issues. Now residents could override the city's new ordinance by getting enough signatures to put the issue on the city's ballot in the next election.

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