Farmington Hills council wants broad reach on marijuana feedback

Farmington Hills city officials made clear Monday that they want broad public outreach after a series of informational meetings with marijuana industry reps.

After “opting out” of marijuana-related businesses in 2019, officials re-opened discussions late last year, starting with study sessions on Michigan marijuana law. The industry plan, city attorney Steve Joppich said, deals more with operations.

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Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

Three sessions, 12 business owners

Residents can attend and ask questions during any of the three sessions proposed in a draft information-gathering plan. At least 12 business owners will take part in sessions for:

  • growers and processors;
  • retailers, testing facilities, and transporters; and
  • retailer/growers, consumption establishments, and temporary event organizers.

City attorney Steve Joppich said selection is first-come, first-served. The application will include elements to ensure a diverse group.

“If we need to add to (the 12) to achieve the goal of diversity and inclusiveness, we’ll do that,” he added.

‘A major decision’

Council member Valerie Knol asked about communicating with the public.

“I don’t want to get through all of these sessions and then get to a council meeting… and the average citizen has no clue, and they get wind of it and it’s too late,” she said. “This is a really major decision, and it certainly has to involve public feedback.”

Mayor Vicki Barnett suggested council sessions with the public after the industry meetings and casting a wide net to publicize those–from Farmington Public Schools to local and metro Detroit press.

“I guess the final stage is… I know a lot of communities have put it on the ballot, if we want to get the public involved to that degree,” Barnett said.

Council member Michael Bridges pointed out that citizens could also petition to put a question about marijuana-related businesses on the ballot.

Officials have not yet set dates for the industry or public meetings.

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