Royal Oak weighing whether to allow cannabis business

A marijuana shop on main street? That's what the Royal Oak City Commission is weighing.

Since legalization, many cities have discussed whether to allow businesses to setup shop within their boundaries. 

"Let's not make Royal Oak have the reputation of being the plot capitol of Oakland County." said Katherine Howell, who is against weed business in the city. 

On the other side of the debate is Craig Florek, who supports the profits that legalization would bring. 

"We're missing out on taxable revenue, we're missing out on benefits to the surrounding businesses," he said. 

Chris Carvell agrees, saying people should invest in the opportunity by setting up a business to provide clean cannabis to residents.

Still, others remark that allowing dispensaries into the metro Detroit city would open a "Pandora's box." 

"This door, once this barn door is open, will not be able to be closed easily," said Ronald Wolf.

An informational meeting was held at a city commission's work session. Residents listened to legal experts and its top police officer discuss the issue.

Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue, who brought 2.5 ounces of weed to show others, says while he does not expect to see an increase of crime if marijuana business are allowed to operate in Royal Oak, he anticipates a number of quality of life issues.

"For example if I have ten friends over my house and we're having a bbq and all my buddies have their 2.5 ounces of marijuana and they're smoking it in the backyard while my neighbor is trying to have a birthday party for four-year-olds, well the pungent smell of that marijuana would make their backyard unusable," said O'Donohue.

According to the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, LARA, roughly 56 communities in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston Counties have opted out of the licensed facilities portion of the new recreation marijuana law.

Royal Oak has less than year to decide if it will do the same.

"We definitely have to do our homework," said Michael Fournier, mayor of Royal Oak. "There's no rush at this point. We do have an ordinance in place right now that does give us some protections. We do have that expiring in February…address it sooner as opposed to later."

The city is planning on conducting a scientific survey to get a better idea of what residents think about allowing marijuana business to operate here.