Otsego Township board won’t change its mind on medical marijuana businesses

By: 
Daniel Pepper

Otsego Township board members said they had no intentions to allow medical marijuana businesses when they were asked.
Board members discussed the item at their Monday, Aug. 14, regular meeting at the request of Joe Ribbel.
“I’m here to see if there is the possibility to put a medical marijuana dispensary in your township,” Ribbel said.
The Michigan legislature passed Public Acts 281, 282 and 283 last year, which regulate the growth, processing and transport of medical marijuana and amend the voter-initiated Michigan Medical Marihuana Act to allow for other products using the more concentrated extracts from the marijuana plants.
Individual townships and cities are given the discretion under the state law to allow or not allow the businesses that produce or distribute the drug, which remains illegal for any purpose at the federal level.
The state will not even accept licensing applications for the facilities prior to Dec. 14, 2017.
Township supervisor Bryan Winn said there were no plans for the township to get involved.
“We haven’t opted into the program and we haven’t any support for that on the board,” Winn said.
Township clerk Joan Squibbs said she didn’t believe the township had the administrative resources to add something like that to its duties.
“We’re very part time here,” Squibbs said.
She said the suggestions from the Trump Administration that they might crack down on medical marijuana businesses and users in states that have allowed it in defiance of the federal law gave her pause about allowing it in the township.
Winn agreed the township would have a hard time regulating it.
“I’d be the guy policing it and I’d vote no,” Winn said.
He said he thought the tax revenue coming in wouldn’t be worth the trouble, especially from irresponsible businesses.
“Because, I believe it would create problems,” Winn said. “I’m a builder and I do it right, but there are guys who don’t do it right.”
Ribbel said his operation wouldn’t need any more regulation than a conventional pharmacy.
When he asked whether he could check back in a few months and ask whether the township had changed its mind, Winn said he didn’t want him to waste his time.
“I don’t see that the answer would be all that different in six months,” Winn said.
Township resident Mike Bumgart spoke up.
“If this man went around and got half the township to say we should have it?” Bumgart asked?
Winn first said he’d still say no, but then said he shouldn’t have said.
“I apologize to Joe and Mike,” Winn said. “I said I’d run and vote for the betterment of the township and if people truly said this was something they wanted, I’d have to consider that.
“So, I apologize.
“My opinion is my opinion and it may not be the best thing for the township.”
 

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