Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Eaton Rapids City Council held its regular meeting on July 12 at City Hall. The Council reviewed and approved the third and final marijuana ordinance before them, which allows adult use of marijuana within the city of Eaton Rapids. This is the last in a chain of ordinances regarding the use, sales, and distribution of marijuana in Eaton Rapids.
This ordinance allows the adult-use only sales from the grower to the distributor in the industrial park, in concert with the State of Michigan laws, but still does not allow retail sales within the City of Eaton Rapids.
“Criminals are going to push the envelope,” Councilmember Bill Steele said. “But the envelope stops here. We are regulating how, when, and where it can be grown, distributed, and transported, and how best to restrict it through ordinances.”
Adult-use (recreational) and medical marijuana are legal in Michigan.
“The State restricts the use of marijuana to within your own home, not in your kayak, your car, or in a parking lot,” Councilmember Bill Steele explained. Marijuana consumption on public property or public places is banned and considered a civil infraction.
Adult individuals and Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) cardholders are allowed to grow marijuana on their own premises as long as they are abiding by Michigan growing laws. Each household is eligible to grow a maximum of 12 plants and must be grown in a secure place away from the public eye.
The growing of marijuana in an unoccupied building is not allowed, as this creates a black market for the product, Steele said. That situation has already occurred in Eaton Rapids, he added, involving people from outside Eaton Rapids and outside of Eaton County.
What you do in your home as far as marijuana consumption is already covered by State Law, which supersedes any ordinance that the city can enact, Steele explained. But each municipality has the right to allow or restrict recreational cannabis sales.
The City Council has already approved City Ordinance 2021-03, which allows the operation of medical marijuana facilities within the City of Eaton Rapids, Ordinance 2021-04 which provided regulations for the medical use of marijuana in the course of a home occupation, and Ordinance 2021-05 which created a medical marijuana facility overlay district.
The City has restricted marijuana growers to the industrial park on the south side of town and has restrictions in place regarding containing the smells and location of the facilities.
In September, the process of reviewing licenses and applications for growers will begin if there are any submitted. City Manager Aaron DeSentz said he has had interested parties reach out for more information, but so far there has been nothing concrete.