Why did Flint "opt out" of recreational marihuana?
Flint city council's latest decision makes zero sense. Why stifle business opportunity in a city desperate for tax revenue?
I'm passionate about Flint. I spent almost ten years working at Banana 101.5, a very popular rock radio station there. I graduated from Flushing High School. I know where to find Big Waitress. There are several nights I don't remember at The Machine Shop. Saturday night is not over until you've had an omelette at Starlight.
Credibility established, WTF:
"[Flint] City Council voted 6-0 at its Sept. 23 general meeting to approve the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would prohibit businesses from selling, manufacturing or processing marijuana for recreational purposes within city limits. Councilman Eric Mays, Ward 1, said he meant to dissent after the vote was counted."
The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, (or MRTMA, which we pronounce in the office as a word instead of an acronym, "mert-ma") gives municipalities the option to refuse recreational marihuana businesses in their communities. I wasn't surprised when some of the more snooty communities decided to opt out. You could have knocked me over with a feather when Flint gave recreational marihuana the finger. But they did:
"The amendment, Prohibition of Recreation Marihuana Facilities, prevents any marijuana growers, marijuana safety compliance facilities, marijuana processors, marijuana micro-businesses, marijuana retailers, marijuana event organizers, marijuana secure transporters, marijuana designated consumption establishments, temporary marijuana events and any other types of marijuana-related businesses from operating within Flint."
Why is Flint, OF ALL PLACES turning down ANY business that wants to come in and operate? I love Genesee County, but the word "Flint" does not conjure good images. A polite person tries mute their reaction when they learn that you lived in America's capital for poison water and economic catastrophe.
"Flint?" says a polite person as they move their hand onto yours, a supportive move. "Wow. What was that like?" Their eyes search your face for signs that everything is okay.
This unanimous decision from the Flint city council would be a bad idea if it were based on sound reasoning. It isn't. The reason is confusing at best:
Flint needs to get it right, according to Councilwoman Monica Galloway who was voiced her concerns about allowing businesses to sell recreational marijuana.
“The state is still trying to figure it out," Galloway said. “I don’t want to walk into a restaurant with my grandbaby and have him smell marijuana.”
Smoking has not been allowed in Michigan restaurants since 2009.
Councilwoman Galloway of course knows this. I assume she also knows that, like any other municipality, Flint has zoning laws and restrictive ordinances that avoid the clash between incompatible businesses. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. I hope that my empathetic benefit of the doubt is contagious. Perhaps the Councilwoman would like return the same favor those who want to open a marihuana business in the city.
Councilwoman Galloway presented a narrowly constructed hypothetical that is not based on real life and used it to cancel hundreds of possible revenue streams into the city. There could be dozens of processors, growers and secure transporter businesses in Flint, all taking advantage of the city's relatively low real estate costs. Dort Highway could house dozens of secure transport businesses and processors. Abandoned GM brownfield areas could be used for growing.
A four bedroom house recently sold on Pierson road for $26,000. Golly, do you think that price indicates a lack of interest? Do the low prices on real estate and centralized location in the state mean that the city could actually be a hub for Michigan's burgeoning marihuana industry? Yes, but this vote reversed that.
One person in power imagined a scenario not based on real life, so the city waits while opportunity passes. If Councilwoman Galloway's grand-babies plan on staying in Flint, the revenue streams into the city coffers will pay dividends decades down the road. A city whose habitability has been a recent question should not turn away possible tax revenue. This decision is ill advised at best and irresponsible at worst.
Plenty of places around Flint have enthusiastically embraced recreational marihuana. If you've dreamed of opening your own business, we are putting on a seminar at our law firm on Friday, October 18 2019. We can answer all of your questions. Seating is limited, so if you're interested email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully Flint city government reverses this mistake quickly. If not, Flint will keep its current tragic reputation. Flint has been had a lot of rotten luck, but a lot of its predicament stems from poor decisions by people who knew better.
Flint needs to get it right
We can agree there, Councilwoman.