Berkley residents divided on whether to allow pot shops

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Back in November Michigan voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana. But now many cities are having a tough time deciding where it should be sold.

Tuesday night Berkley residents sounded off on the issue at a town hall meeting.

The city manager says it seemed more people were in favor of allowing weed businesses to come into Berkley but with restrictions. Even so, they are far from making a decision and there's a lot they still need to figure out. 

"I tend to want to try new things, let's give it a try," said Mike Matthews-Pennanen.

"Have they considered the expenses, and the downside and impact to our youth?" asked Beverley Barra.

There were mixed opinions in Berkley after a town hall meeting Tuesday on recreational marijuana. City leaders are getting a feel from residents on whether they should allow weed businesses to open shop there.  

"Public safety concerns are still large," said city manager Matthew Baumgarten. "Is it a cash-only business, growers have a difficult time getting a secure transport. There are questions as to how secure that transport is going to be."

"I think it would really be a missed opportunity if we didn't opt in," said Melissa Kendall, pro-weed.

Resident Brandi Cashman said any additional money that could be raised for city or road improvements should be considered from marijuana businesses.

Also at the town hall was Brad Zerman, a Chicago potrepreneur from metro Detroit hoping to open up shop in Berkley.

Michiganders voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana back in November. Now municipalities have to decide whether they'll "opt-out" of allowing marijuana businesses from growers to retailers to operate in their communities.

Choosing to do nothing is choosing to opt-in if you will. And the clock is ticking.

Chris Johnson, chief counsel from the Michigan Municipal League, says the state will likely have rules for recreational marijuana in place by the December 2019 deadline.

Communities like Berkley will have 90 days from then to opt-out or have ordinances in place. But it could entail opting out while they hammer out the details and then opting back in.

In the meantime, they're still getting input from residents. It has until next week to fill out a survey and make their voices heard on this issue. The survey is online on the city’s web page and will be there until Feb. 26.