Amber Twp. opts out of Proposal 1 effective April 1

February 26, 2019

AMBER TWP. — Officials in Amber Township voted Monday to ban recreational businesses in the township’s jurisdiction at Amber Town Hall.

The vote was unanimous among township trustees, who held a second reading of the ordinance during a special meeting before bringing the issue to a vote. The measure — drafted by Tracy Thompson, who serves as the township’s legal counsel — was introduced on Jan. 9.

Township Supervisor James Gallie invited township residents to speak about the issue, but there was no public comment or discussion between trustees.

“We have discussed this at length at two meetings and two special meetings,” he said. “I look forward to opting out of this thing.”

Gallie said he has received very few questions or comments from township residents about the potential ban on recreational marijuana establishments during the time between the first reading and the adoption of the ordinance.

“I have received no phone calls, but a couple of comments on the street from people saying they don’t want (recreational marijuana) here,” he said.

The ordinance “prohibits marijuana establishments within the boundaries of Amber Township” as defined by the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA), which was formed in the wake of the passing of Proposal 1.

“Anyone who refuses to comply with any provision of this ordinance shall be deemed to be (in violation of this ordinance),” Gallie said during the reading.

Violations will be municipal civil infractions with fines of no less than $100 or more than $500 at the discretion of the court, according to Gallie.

“Additionally, the violator will pay costs, which may include all expenses — direct and indirect — that the township incurs,” he said, noting that each day a violation continues will be treated as a separate infraction.

Gallie said the ordinance will be administered and enforced by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office or a designee of the Amber Township Board.

The ordinance will go into effect on April 1, which is the start of the township’s fiscal year.

Proposal 1, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, passed in Michigan during the November general election, but was not approved by Amber Township voters. In the township, 611 residents voted against the measure, while 547 voted in favor of it.