Local News

New Buffalo Rejects Marijuana Sales

(New Buffalo, MI) - The City of New Buffalo has given a thumbs down to the sale of marijuana.


There was a tie vote by the city council Monday night on allowing for the retail sale of marijuana. Approval by a majority of the five member council is required for measures to be adopted.


Councilman Roger Lijewski did not vote to avoid a conflict of interest because he owns the building that once housed the Wheel Inn restaurant, one of the few locations where the sale of marijuana would be allowed under current zoning.


Mayor John Humphrey said he opposed the sale of marijuana to save the city time and money from defending itself against lawsuits he expected to be filed.


Had marijuana been allowed, Humphrey said the city's zoning ordinance was deemed too restrictive by people wanting to open marijuana shops in locations not allowed under the current zoning.,


Humphrey said he did not want the city sued and forced to allow shops to operate throughout the community should a legal battle prove unsuccessful.


“They didn’t overtly threaten to sue us but it was very clear they were intending to litigate the city,” he said.


Humphrey said the revenue the city would collect from such operations would probably not be enough to recover its legal expenses.


There could be an effort to have voters decide whether to allow for the sale of marijuana through a referendum, where if approved, Humphrey said lawsuits could not be filed against the city since it would be the public making the sale of marijuana legal under less restrictive state laws governing their location.


New Buffalo Township recently voted to allow for the sale of marijuana within its jurisdiction outside the city limits.


Currrently, the township is accepting applications from people seeking to operate marijuana shops.

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