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Monroe Township Supervisor Al Barron said the expectation is for any cannabis-related businesses to be located along the LaPlaisance corridor.

Monroe Charter Township on Tuesday became one of the first municipalities in Monroe County to approve an ordinance governing marijuana businesses.

The township board of trustees approved a zoning ordinance that includes a section regulating marijuana microbusinesses, processors, retailers, provisioning centers, compliance businesses and transporters.

Per the ordinance, “Marihuana Growers shall be allowed to be located within (i) L-I (light industrial) zoned districts or (ii) C- 2 (general commercial) zoned districts with special approval…

“…in the Charter Township of Monroe after receiving site plan approval and further provided that the Marihuana Grower meets the conditions set forth in this Ordinance.”

The ordinance prohibits any marijuana business, or activities associated with the business, from operating inside a residential space, with the exception of operations allowed under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act for medical marihuana.

Drive-through and mobile marijuana businesses are prohibited, as are marijuana designated consumption establishments.

Marijuana businesses must be located at least 1,000 feet, as measured door-to-door, from any licensed child care business, preschool program center, or any public or private primary, intermediate or secondary school.

They are not allowed in any Residential Zoning Districts, and must be set back at least 500 feet as measured door-to door from a primary residence in a Residential Zoned District, or from the nearest campsite or church.

Township Supervisor Al Barron said the expectation is for any cannabis-related businesses to be located along the LaPlaisance corridor, one of the only areas in the township that fits the criteria laid out in the ordinance.

LaPlaisance Road area:

“I think the primary goal was to focus on LaPlaisance Road,” Barron said. “There’s no residents out there. It’s a good area that obviously needs developing…

“As far as other places, there’s not that many C-2  (zoned) areas.”

Barron added that he believes it’s “absolutely an economic advantage” to be one of the first municipalities in Monroe County to pass a marijuana ordinance.

“COVID-19 put a little damper into getting it passed,” he said. “It should have passed back in June, we said that was our timeline. But we did get it passed at Tuesday’s meeting.”

Barron said that the township has already received a lot of interest from individuals looking to apply for the proper licenses to open marijuana-related businesses within the township.

While the ordinance has drawn crowds to recent township board meetings, the supervisor said those who attended were mostly proponents of the industry.

“There’s been very little contention,” Barron said. “That could change, but we hope that we have a grip on this…

“As of right now, there’s been very, very few complaints.”

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