Some voters in northern Michigan will decide the future of recreational marijuana in their communities this election. And it’s causing some controversy.
The cities of Petoskey and Frankfort, as well as Wheatland Township in Mecosta County and Clement and Tobacco Townships in Gladwin County have recreational marijuana on their ballots. The proposals come four years after voters legalized it throughout the state. Wheatland Township’s Clerk Mary Karcher explains their community didn’t want it then.
“Back in 2018 when the state past it by 58%, Wheatland Township actually turned it down by 56%,” Karcher continues. “After it was passed through we were all given an option to vote in or out. And because the state [didn’t] have all their rules and regulations in place, many of us opted out.”
Wheatland Township is putting the issue back on the ballot this year after a number of people came to them looking to setup a commercial grow operation and retail space. However, that has caused some controversy.
“Many people are saying if we do get marijuana into our town, they won’t do business in our area any longer,” Karcher states.
They say they understand the concerns, but say the pros could outweigh the cons. They say they’ve drawn motivation from the success they’ve seen from surrounding communities like Big Rapids and Cadillac. Cadillac’s Community Development Director John Wallace says they haven’t noticed a problem with it in his community yet.
“In terms of how you measure success, I’m not sure exactly how you do that with marijuana. In terms of has it been an issue or a problem, not that we’ve been aware of so far,” Wallace admits.
They say either way, whether you’re for it or against it, they want the people to have a say in Wheatland Township.
“The township now has an opportunity to let us know if they’re ready to have marijuana in our township,” Karcher says.