Marijuana is on the ballot in 3 Michigan communities on Tuesday – Detroit Free Press
Some things you need to know about legalized recreational marijuana in Michigan. Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press
Voters in three Michigan communities — Highland Park, Crystal Lake and Vanderbilt — will get to decide the future of marijuana in their towns on Tuesday.
In Highland Park and Vanderbilt, a proposal allowing marijuana businesses will be on the primary election ballot. But in Crystal Lake, a prohibition on pot shops will be on the ballot.
The questions follow Royal Oak Township’s defeat of a ballot proposal in May that would have opened up a couple of parcels of land along Eight Mile for marijuana businesses.
Such ballot proposals will probably become more frequents as elected officials in more than 600 Michigan communities have passed resolutions banning marijuana businesses from their towns. Some of those communities have said that they voted to opt out of legal weed businesses because they wanted to wait to see the state’s rules that will govern the industry before they came up with their own rules for the business.
More: Royal Oak Township voters say no to marijuana businesses
More: 235,000 Michiganders could have marijuana record cleared under new bill
But citizens can take the issue into their own hands if they don’t like what their city leaders have done. The ballot proposal approved by Michigan voters in November that legalized marijuana for adult recreational use allows citizens to gather petition signatures to reverse their elected officials by gathering 5% of the number of votes cast for governor in the 2018 election.
That is a low bar for many communities. In Royal Oak Township, for example, only 55 signatures were needed to get the issue on the ballot. In Vanderbilt, a small village in northeast Michigan, only 195 people voted in the 2018 election, so only 10 signatures were needed to get on the ballot there.
And in Highland Park, 2,910 residents voted in the gubernatorial race, so 146 signatures could get a marijuana proposal on the ballot in that city. Detroit political consultant Marcelus Brice was the driving force behind the proposal, Highland Park city officials said, which would create two areas of the city – along sections of Woodward and McNichols – for an undetermined number of marijuana businesses.
The Vanderbilt Village proposal calls for up to 22 marijuana business licenses, including: two for transporters; two for retail shops; two for testing facilities; five for microbusinesses; two for processors and up to nine grow licenses.
Ryan Cottrell, a trustee on the village council who spearheaded the ballot proposal, doesn’t expect all those licenses to be awarded in the tiny town, but he said it wasn’t right when the council voted last year to ban legal weed businesses in town.
“If the people go to the polls and a vast majority of them vote for something, elected officials should not usurp the will of the voters,” he said, noting a wide majority of village voters approved legalizing marijuana in November.
In Crystal Lake, 36 signatures were needed to get the marijuana business prohibition on the ballot. The marijuana legalization vote in November was close in the west Michigan town, but passed by a 380-328 vote.
While towns can ban or allow pot shops in their towns, the ballot proposal is clear on marijuana use and possession: Elected leaders can’t stop residents from using marijuana, possessing up to 2.5 ounces on their person or 10 ounces in their homes, or from growing up to 12 plants in their homes for personal use.
The state Marijuana Regulatory Agency is expected to begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses in October with the first licenses awarded before the end of the year. Currently, 277 licenses have been awarded for medical marijuana businesses and many of those businesses are expected to also apply for recreational licenses.
Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, email@example.com or on Twitter @michpoligal.
This article originally appeared here in https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2019/08/02/marijuana-businesses-ballot-michigan-election/1902516001/