Farmington Hills plans outreach to marijuana industry

Farmington Hills city council members on Monday agreed to a plan that will provide them with information directly from the owners of marijuana-related businesses.

Officials in 2019 decided against permitting growers, processors, retailers, and others allowed under state law, but left the door open for future conversations. After several study sessions, they asked city staff last month to create a work group with industry representatives.

City attorney Steve Joppich outlined a series of “information gathering sessions” with three groups: growers and processors; retailers, testing facilities, and transporters; and retailer/growers, consumption establishments, and temporary event organizers.

The draft plan proposed 10 people per session, with a few representatives from each area, and a 1-2 hour time frame. Joppich said finding volunteers shouldn’t be a problem; his office and other city departments have already fielded calls from interested parties.

Selection of participants would be made by administration, Joppich said. After some discussion, officials agreed to a first-come, first-served application process, with consideration given to ensuring a diverse group.

“We will make it clear this isn’t an opportunity to advertise their business,” Joppich said. “It’s information gathering… We’re going to ask them to come prepared.”

Consultant Rod Arroyo volunteered to facilitate, Joppich said. The format for the virtual meeting would give participants an opportunity to share specific information and to answer questions. He said in addition to recordings and reports from each session, his office will provide council members with sample ordinances and information from other cities.

Mayor Vicki Barnett asked that the public have access to the virtual meetings, with a way for them to provide feedback to council members.

Joppich suggested talking about more direct public outreach after the information sessions, because “we don’t know what we don’t know yet.”

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