In Vanderbilt, Voters Will Decide if Recreational Marijuana Businesses Will Be Allowed

To opt-in or opt-out?

Most municipalities in Northern Michigan are choosing to “opt-out” when it comes to recreational marijuana sales in their towns.

But in one community the voters will now decide.

A group of people in Vanderbilt signed a petition that puts the question on their ballot this summer.

Voters will be asked whether they want to allow marijuana stores, growers and facilities in their village.

As leaders in municipalities across Northern Michigan move to opt out of marijuana legislation, this is kind of a new concept, giving voters the opportunity to decide.

“This will be the first one to my knowledge, in the state that is trying to use the citizen’s override use of the petition to opt-in,” Ryan Cottrell, said.

As leader of the Coalition for a Safer Vanderbilt, Ryan Cottrell drafted this petition.

“I wholeheartedly agree with municipalities who opt-out, where they didn’t get support from the locals,” Cottrell, said.

But Cottrell says that’s not the case in Vanderbilt.

“Vanderbilt was such a huge swing of the vote it carried the township to a ‘Yes’ vote on Proposal 1,” Cottrell, added.

Cottrell says opting-in would not only be great for access to marijuana but also the village’s budget.

“We have one DPW worker, one guy that plows all the roads and mows all the parks, he does everything. Part of the reason we only have one guy is that we have really limited resources when it comes to tax revenue on properties,” Cottrell explained.

If approved by voters, a limited number of recreational marijuana retailers, facilities and growers will be allowed in the Village of Vanderbilt, once state licensing is established.

“I signed the petition and I hope that Vanderbilt does do something about it, because Gaylord is not going to do anything about it. That’s why we had to do the petition again to make the people actually be heard,” Vanderbilt Resident Douglas Green, said.

Voters will ultimately make the decision at the polls in August.