Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New marijuana ordinance prompts council squabble

Tasha Green
Members of the Westland City Council have approved a new ordinance regulating the sale of marijuana in the community by a 6-1 vote.
Councilwoman Tasha Green, who cast the lone dissenting vote, was adamant in her repeated remarks that she favors marijuana but that she was “not comfortable with the integrity of the process.”
The ordinance limits the location of facilities that sell either medicinal or recreational marijuana including certain portions of the city, residentially-zoned areas and the City Centre District. Provisions of the new ordinance regulate security measures at the facilities, odors emanating from such operations and hours such businesses can be open in the city.

The ordinance also provides for the establishment of a three-person Marijuana Business Review Board charged with the review of all applications for the sale of the substance in the city.
Green insisted that she was “uncomfortable with the liability that city council members will have in this process” prior to her no vote.
Green expressed concerns about the proximity the marijuana facilities could have to homes in the city, the protection afforded the City Centre District and the establishment of the Marijuana Business Review Board.
Green also questioned the possibility that family members of current officials could apply for a marijuana license in the city and announced that she would abstain from voting on any further issue before city council related to marijuana.
Prior to the meeting Monday, Green sent an email to the entire council, Mayor William Wild and city attorney Jim Fausone with a subject line: “Request for Discontinuation of Biased Treatment.”
In the email, Green claims she is making a second request for a formal investigation into “what I believe was discriminatory and retaliatory treatment against me by members of city council.”
She also sent a letter to Council President James Godbout claiming ongoing abuse and lack of equal enforcement of policy and procedures “on matters relating to me.”
She accused Councilman Jim Hart of using profanity at an Oct. 15 study session and repeatedly criticized Hart for “cursing at me.” She then details a spat at the study session during which barbs were exchanged between herself, Hart and Councilman Michael Londeau.
She accuses Godbout of failing to address the “profanity used toward me” and failing to silence an audience member who was commenting that Green was “out of order.”
Green quotes Hart as saying that she “should stop making s-t up.”
“I find your actions to not only be abusive, bullying, belittling, intentional (sic) disrespectful as both you and Councilman Hart admitted when speaking to me, biased and misogynistic.”
During the regular meeting last week, after Green announced her intention to abstain from future votes concerning marijuana in the city, both Godbout and Londeau responded to her comments.
“We'll ask the city attorney later, but you have a duty to vote. You cannot just abstain from it,” Londeau told her.
The vote on the new ordinance came following nine study sessions during which the council members and other city officials discussed the issue. Godbout estimated that the city would begin taking applications for permits for marijuana facilities before the end of the year but noted that guidelines for the review board still need to be developed along with an evaluation process.