Local media outlet the Daily press reports……Legal marijuana sales in Escanaba may not get the go-ahead from the city’s government until the fall of 2022. The Escanaba City Council directed city staff to prepare an ordinance that would extend Escanaba’s ban on commercial marijuana businesses by two years if approved Thursday.
During a regular council meeting Thursday evening, City Manager Patrick Jordan informed council members that the ordinance prohibiting commercial marijuana businesses within city limits has a sunset provision and will expire in mid-September. Before council voted on the matter, local residents shared their thoughts during a public comment period.
A number of speakers — including Joni Moore, president of Higher Love Cannabis Co. — were in favor of allowing the sale of marijuana in Escanaba to move forward.
“I’ve been in this industry for the past six years in the Upper Peninsula, and I’ve seen this medication and this herb change people’s lives,” she said.
Other members of the public were opposed to the idea of making this change.
“For almost two years, I have been trying to advocate the need for not selling … recreational marijuana in the City of Escanaba,” Escanaba resident William Gasman said.
During council’s discussion, Council Member Tyler DuBord said he would have no problem moving towards allowing marijuana sales locally.
“I would rather provide a safe product that’s regulated than unsafe products on our streets … marijuana’s still here, it’s not going anywhere — I don’t believe it is,” DuBord said.
Mayor Pro Tem Peggy O’Connell felt differently.
“I looked into and read a lot about Colorado — I have a lot of questions still that still haven’t been answered,” she said.
Mayor Marc Tall said that, in the interest of having time to get more information from nearby communities that are allowing marijuana sales to take place, he would be in favor of extending the sunset provision by two years.
“I think some time needs to go by so we can hear how the other communities that are close to us are doing — if there are any problems, I want to hear about them before we take that step,” he said.
A motion to have city employees prepare an ordinance to this effect for council’s next meeting was unanimously approved. Tall noted the length of the sunset provision extension could be changed by council in the future.
Later in the meeting, Kyle Blomquist — a city council member in Iron Mountain, where legal marijuana sales are moving forward — spoke. He believed the extension would be excessive as proposed.
“I would encourage the city council to revise that opt-out of two years at your next meeting, your first reading, to be something more like a year or something more like six months,” he said.