(CBS DETROIT) – With the growth of expansion from the legalization of marijuana in Michigan, both medicinally and recreationally, many communities across the state have gotten into the action. While several communities have voted to allow marijuana shops, growers, and retailers within their boundaries, some have steered away as many city leaders and residents take a “not in my back yard” approach.

One community that has taken an interest in considering the marijuana industry is the city of Farmington Hills. In an article by the Farmington Voice, the Farmington Hills City council agreed Monday to establish a workgroup to study its current marijuana ordinances.

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As the Farmington Voice reported, Debani Gordon, an associate attorney for Farmington Hills’ City Attorney Steve Joppich, gave a presentation on Michigan’s medical and recreational marijuana laws. While the city currently doesn’t allow these businesses to operate. While this is far from a “green” light to allowing marijuana dispensaries… at least not yet, it’s an agreement to study the current laws on the books and open up a discussion on the matter.

Credit: Getty Images | Thanasis: Stock photo of medical cannabis.

According to Gordon, a study needs to be done to examine the city’s ordinances against the state’s latest laws. If they wanted to allow permits for companies in the medical marijuana industry to set up shop, this discussion would help to identify the “legal challenges”. which Gordon said one of the issues is (the legal) “challenges to communities not following their ordinances”.

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Other issues at hand would be determining the licensing and zoning ordinances, as well as the types of businesses the city would allow. Whether that’s medical and/or recreational dispensaries, grow houses, and transporters. As Hometown Life reported, the city could be allowed to pick and choose which businesses are allowed to set up shop and where they would be allowed. According to Joppich, demand is high, and there are more businesses looking to open than cities allowing licenses to operate. the industry he says is very competitive. However, Joppich also said the challenge in allowing licenses is to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

City of Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett said this will be a long process, even if the city agrees to amend its ordinances allowing marijuana businesses. Many on the council however are split on whether allowing pot in their community would be a good thing. According to Hometown Life, Councilwoman Valerie Knol said, “This isn’t an issue I think the city should be pursuing right now,”.  Knol added, “I think we’re way too early in the process… This is a huge undertaking for city staff to lead these workgroups. We’ve got a lot of other issues right now, and this is not a top issue for me.”

According to the Farmington Voice, Councilman Michael Bridges said the study groups are not about making decisions, but getting input from their citizens. “This is clearly a big issue, and the city has been very cautious over the last several years on the introduction of marijuana in Farmington Hills … I would definitely be in support of citizen involvement,” Councilman Bridges told Hometown Life.

Mayor Vicki Barnett also said, “As the economy changes, and we’re going to have a lot of empty buildings… This is probably, in my opinion, the best time to start to look at this if we’re going to start to look at rezoning changes for the post-pandemic period.” Barnett also said heard from a lot of constituents who have asked her to look into this.

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