TRAVERSE CITY — The sun might set six months later than initially planned on a Traverse City’s opt-out of adult-use marijuana sales and other businesses.

City commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to discuss an extension of that sunset at their Dec. 16 meeting. They’ll weigh that night whether to push the expiration date for their opt-out decision to May 6.

That should give an ad hoc committee tasked with crafting ordinances for the businesses time to finish the job, city Attorney Lauren Trible-Laucht said. Otherwise, the city’s opt-out expires Friday.

City leaders opted out of allowing adult-use cannabis businesses in December 2018 in light of a lack of rules from the state.

City Manager Marty Colburn noted that most other municipalities in the state did the same.

“I suggest that people just have a little patience and allow the ad hoc committee to do their job and it’ll be brought forth to the city commission in due time,” he said.

Commissioner Brian McGillivary, who chairs the ad hoc committee working on the ordinances, said the state issued emergency rules in mid-summer and the committee has been working away since then on what he called a complicated task.

He’s faced questions on why the city doesn’t have anything in place yet, including why the city doesn’t just copy Ann Arbor’s ordinances — the state’s first recreational marijuana retailer opened Sunday. Ann Arbor has a population of 120,000 and considerably deeper pockets than Traverse City, McGillivary said.

Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe, another subcommittee member, said she has faced similar questions from people asking why city leaders don’t just enact an ordinance. It’s not that simple, as the law has a lot of gray area, she said.

“It’s just the process, it’s not that we’re against it or dragging our feet, it’s just that it’s a lot to go through,” she said.

Commissioner Ashlea Walter pointed out there’s a chance city leaders could opt in sooner than May 6 if the rules are done before then.

Mayor Jim Carruthers said the plan still is to eventually opt in and allow the businesses — a point commissioners made a year ago when they opted out shortly after Traverse City voters overwhelmingly voted for legalization through a November 2018 statewide ballot initiative.

Trible-Laucht said the city isn’t at risk of applicants pushing through licenses between Friday and Dec. 16. State regulators check with local governments to see if they have an ordinance in place before approving a license, she said.

 

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