obiter dictum

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Ruling on the MRTMA

Interesting case on behalf of the City today. Clerk rejected an initative petition to establish a recreational marijuana ordinance because it did not contains sufficient signatures under City charter. The petitioners relied on the MRTMA, which states: “Individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments allowed within a municipality or to completely prohibit marihuana establishments within a municipality, and such ordinance shall be submitted to the electors of the municipality at the next regular election when a petition is signed by qualified electors in the municipality in a number greater than 5% of the votes cast for governor by qualified electors in the municipality at the last gubernatorial election.”

Judge ruled that the MRTMA only authorizes an initiative petition where the proposed ordinance either (1) establishes the number of marijuana facilities or (2) outright prohibits facilities. Anything else proposed (fees, regulation, land use restrictions, etc. ) must follow procedures in the city charter. He also found that the statute does not permit such a petition where the municipality has already taken action. To do so would not “initiate” a new ordinance but repeal an existing.

Will be interesting to see how other courts read the MRTMA.