2018-12-08 / News

Recreational Marijuana Sales Banned on Mackinac Island

By Stephanie Fortino

The sale of recreational marijuana and marijuana products is banned on Mackinac Island. Since Michigan voters approved recreational use November 6, the city has received two inquiries about a marijuana business. The city Ordinance Committee recommended banning pot shops Monday, November 19, and the city council adopted the new ordinance Wednesday, December 5.

Police Chief Lawrence Horn provided information on the proposal to the committee, explaining how local municipalities can “opt out” of the new state law. City attorney Tom Evashevski said the city can prohibit marijuana establishments, which include any business involved in the chain of commerce of recreational marijuana, including its production, distribution, and sale.

“We’ve got enough problems without this,” Mayor Margaret Doud said.

While the state law allows municipalities to designate areas where people can smoke or consume marijuana in public, the committee agreed no such place should be identified on the Island. People already smoke marijuana illegally in the woods, committee member Anneke Myers said, and will continue to do so.

One consequence of the law will be that people won’t understand that marijuana cannot be smoked in public, Chief Horn said. Already, people walk around the city with open containers of alcohol, thinking it is legal because automobiles are banned.

Committee member Steve Moskwa inquired about a landlord’s right to prohibit smoking and consuming marijuana. Chief Horn said a lease agreement can contain a prohibition on smoking marijuana inside, as leases can prohibit the smoking of other substances like cigarettes. Landlords will also be able to ban their tenants from possession of marijuana or marijuana substances like edibles or oils in rental properties.

Even under the new state law, an employer can also prohibit its employees from working under the influence of marijuana, just as many employers require that employees do not work under the influence of alcohol. People will not be able to operate vehicles, including bicycles, under the influence of recreational marijuana. While there is no roadside test for marijuana, like breathalyzers for alcohol consumption, Chief Horn said field sobriety tests are effective at determining whether a person is under the influence.

Chief Horn also suggested the city regulate or ban marijuana growing establishments indoors. A fire this summer, he noted, was caused by lights used to grow medical marijuana.

He also suggested the city may want to consider regulating vaping, since e-cigarettes are becoming more widespread and accessible. E-cigarette cartridges can contain a wide variety of substances, including nicotine and marijuana.

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