Niles City Council approves ordinances to allow recreational marijuana businesses

NILES — The Niles City Council hosted a Monday evening special meeting nearly a year in the making. There, it approved an ordinance and an ordinance amendment with a 6-1 vote each that would allow adult-use recreational marijuana businesses to be regulated in city limits.

Before a room of about three dozen people at the Niles Fire Department Complex, councilmembers Gretchen Bertschy, Travis Timm, Charlie McAfee, William Weimer, John DiCostanzo and Jessica Nelson approved the ordinances. Councilmember Daniel VandenHeede was opposed. Councilmember Georgia Boggs was absent.

In about 20 days, entrepreneurs and marijuana businesses can seek pre-approval for an adult-use license from the state. Then, they can seek approval from Niles’ planning commission and council for permits and other regulatory requirements. If approval is obtained, Michigan may grant the businesses their state licenses, and the businesses can operate in city limits.

The businesses will have to comply with numerous other safety and compliance measures, as both ordinances were created to regulate.

The following business types will be permitted in the city with no limit to number: growing facilities, excess growing facilities, processing centers, safety compliance, secure transportation and marijuana organizers.

Four provisioning centers, including medical marijuana businesses, and four micro-businesses will be permitted, as will three designated consumption centers.

The decision is a reversal of a November 2018 decision to not allow recreational marijuana businesses in city limits. The 5-3 decision was made shortly after Michigan voters approved recreational marijuana’s legality.

Niles residents voted almost 3 to 1 to make recreational marijuana legal in the 2018 election.

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