Brighton continues ban on marijuana businesses in city

BRIGHTON – City council voted Wednesday night to continue banning any kind of marijuana business in the city. 

More than 100 people attended a special meeting of Brighton City Council to find out whether the city would continue blocking marijuana businesses or explore the possibility of changing the current ordinance to allow them. 

Councilmember Paul Gibson made a motion to reaffirm the city’s “opt out” status, which council approved in a 6-1 vote. 

“I do not see a substantial need for marijuana in the city,” Gibson said.

The vote came after about four hours of comments from members of the public. Dozens of people shared their opinions.

Many expressed concerns that allowing recreational marijuana stores would negatively impact the community and increase use among teenagers. 

Others spoke out in favor of allowing recreational marijuana businesses, including some who say they or loved ones have benefitted from its medicinal properties, as well as a few people in the legal marijuana industry. 

The council’s vote does not mean they can’t bring the issue back to the table in the future. 

Jon Emaus was the only councilmember to vote against reaffirming the city’s decision to opt out. 

Emaus suggested the council move forward with separate discussions regarding recreational marijuana businesses, and other types of commercial and industrial marijuana operations allowed by state law, which includes grows, processing facilities and other types of businesses.

Councilmember Susan Gardener, who opposed allowing marijuana businesses, said council should wait to discuss it, while the city searches for a new city manager. 

The city was exploring it

Marijuana businesses of any kind are not currently allowed in the city, which opted out under Michigan’s recreational marijuana law.

In October, Brighton City Council passed a resolution instructing the city’s planning commission to begin an ordinance review process and identify possible locations for marijuana businesses.

At the time, council stipulated that marijuana businesses would not be allowed in or around the downtown business district, including Main Street.

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Officials also at that time discussed whether the city should get ahead of special interest groups that could petition to place the question on the ballot and force their hand. 

The planning commission reported back in December, but the council did not take action. The commission declined to create a draft ordinance, as city council had requested, and instead submitted items for consideration for how marijuana business could be regulated in the city. 

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Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at

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