Village of Vanderbilt Votes Down Citizen Initiative to Allow Recreational Marijuana Business in Town

An Otsego county community has said no to recreational marijuana businesses in town.

Tuesday, the Village of Vanderbilt voted not to allow 22 recreational marijuana licenses in town.

The measure lived and died by the people.

Earlier this year, the village government opted out of recreational marijuana. In March, a citizen initiated ballot to opt back in got enough signatures to go to a vote in the August election.

The petition needed 5% of the voting population, which in the one square mile town of Vanderbilt was just 10 people. It got 18 signatures total.

On Tuesday, the community voted down that decision by 12 votes, 72 to 84.

The petition would have allowed for growers, retailers, processors, safety compliance facilities, transporters and micro-businesses.

Some voters say 22 licenses was too many for the community, which only has one stoplight.

“I have nothing against marijuana, it’s just that this is a small community and I don’t think that we really need a distribution center,” said voter Mike Kenny.  “There isn’t a whole lot of room in Vanderbilt, Michigan.”

Others wanted to see the marijuana industry bring jobs and tax revenue to town.

“I have four children in school here. I’d like to see the school grow,” said voter Daryll McDowell II.  “Some people don’t like it because they think it’s going to bring bad to the community.”

Village trustee Ryan Cottrell started collecting signatures for the ballot initiative this year, and says he’s disappointed the measure failed, but he is glad his campaign helped educate some voters about recreational marijuana.

“We have come a long way in educating the electorate, and we still got a long ways to go,” said Cottrell. “I know the 22 businesses scared some people. That was the sticking point for quite a few people. We may look at the number and change it, restrict it.”