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Voters Show Up to Canceled Election in Whitewater Township

Whitewater No Election

Tuesday is election day – but some ballots are being tossed as one township’s polling location is closed.

We reported on Monday about the recreational marijuana issue on the ballot in Grand Traverse County’s Whitewater Township. The issue called for a ban on all recreational marijuana establishments in the township. It came after the township passed an ordinance in December allowing for some indoor growing and processing facilities in the township. A lawsuit from North Point Farms sought to stop the ballot measure.

As we first reported, in a late afternoon ruling Monday, a judge decided the election had to be cancelled, because under the Marijuana act passed in 2018, the issue must go to voters at the local level during a “regularly scheduled” election; not a “special election” like the one set for Tuesday in Whitewater Township.

It’s caused some confusion for residents. Whitewater Township Supervisor Ron Popp says, “We’ve had a few excited folks to come vote. But when they get to the door and read the notice on the door that the judge had canceled today’s events, they have additional questions.” Those who voted absentee were told via a notice posted at the Township Hall that their ballots will remain sealed. It’s also not known when the election will be rescheduled.

With the ballot issue still unresolved, the township Planning commission is moving forward with business as usual. Popp says they have a public meeting Wednesday evening to discuss zoning for marijuana growing and processing facilities. “Even though we passed an ordinance, we still have to couple that, or adjoin it, with a zoning ordinance. So the board says, ‘yep that’s a lawful use.’ But then we have to determine where this lawful use can take place.”

The township has not taken any action on allowing recreational facilities or dispensaries.