New Law Boosting Fireworks Demand in Michigan
FOX 47 News
Photo: Video by fox47news.com
We're still more than a week away from the 4th of July, but you wouldn't know that listening to the sounds outside lately. Local police departments are getting swamped with complaints about fireworks.
Officials say Michigan's new fireworks law has basically opened the flood gates of fireworks demand in the state. There are now a lot more legal choices for buyers, and for suppliers that translates into a sharp uptick in sales: we're talking a 300-400 percent boost from last year.
Traditionally a symbol of freedom, fireworks in Michigan are now a symbol of a free market.
"I like the explosions, the loud bangs, the loud noises," shopper Frank Ayers said.
Visit any tent or free-standing store and you'll find people just like Ayers, thrilled about their new wealth of legal choices.
"Before everybody had to go across the border and buy products in Indiana or Ohio," Sean Conn, Vice President of Big Fireworks, said.
The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act took effect in January 2012, making this the first time suppliers and law enforcement are dealing with the changes.
"There is definitely pent-up demand in Michigan and we anticipated that to a certain extent," Conn added.
The state was expecting around 200-300 new applications from vendors hoping to sell fireworks. It got and approved more than 700.
"The growth, I'm just shocked at how much we've actually been able to do," Conn said.
As fireworks continue to flood the area, police say remember, local rules still apply.
"Here in East Lansing we still have the noise ordinance, so if that's a problem we can enforce it strictly through the noise portion of the ordinance," Captain Bill Mitchell, with East Lansing Police said.
Mitchell also says you must be on private property or have consent. Police say fire danger is another consideration.
"These fields and grass and all of that is very dry right now," Mitchell said.
He says noise enforcement will vary depending on the municipality. For example, in East Lansing, violations after 11 p.m. would be written as a misdemeanor. Fines would be $250 for a first offense, $350 for a second, and $500 the third time around.