STEPHENSON — The Stephenson City Council voted to opt out of recreational marijuana within city limits at its meeting Thursday.

Opting out of recreational marijuana was brought up at previous meetings, but was not voted on.

“At this time, we should opt out of it,” Council member John Starzynski said. “I would like to make a motion that we make a resolution to opt out of recreational marijuana at this time.”

Council member Amy Larson disagreed with Starzynski, citing the money that other cities and the state as a whole has made off of recreational marijuana in the past several months.

“I don’t know how much of that would come back to the city,” Starzynski said. “From what I can tell from other states, very little of the money ends up back in the areas it came from. Especially if you’re a small city like us. If you’re a big city like Detroit, yeah you could be making a lot of money. Little cities like us? We’d be making a very little amount.”

Mayor Connie Westrich said most cities in the State of Michigan have opted out. City Zoning Administrator Lowell Bengry also said several communities in the Upper Peninsula are opting out.

“Gladstone, Crystal Falls have opted out and Iron River is in the process of opting out,” he said. “The laws aren’t really set yet. The state enacts something and chooses to write the laws afterwards. These laws should have been written well before the vote was taking place so it would be ready to go.”

Bengry also said the state has not offered anything to help zoning administrators and planning commissioner write the rules and regulations for zoning the sale and growth of recreational marijuana.

Council member Dale Parrett said it may be difficult to opt out later, if the city opted in now. Starzynski said that by opting out now, the City of Stephenson would have more leverage to make its own laws and regulations later.

However, Larson said if the city opted in, it could set up how many grow centers and provisional centers the city would allow.

“Many of the laws are there already, what the state hasn’t done is give out licenses,” she said.

The resolution to opt out of recreational marijuana within city limits passed with three in favor to two against. Council members Jen Bastien, Ronald Zahorik and Starzynski voted in favor of the resolution while Larson and Parrett voted against. Council member Paul Parmentier was not present and did not vote.