SOUTH HAVEN — Casco Township officials inked an ordinance a month ago to “opt out” of a new state law that allows recreational marijuana-related businesses to grow, test, transport and sell cannabis. But now, township officials want to further strengthen the municipality’s stance on prohibiting marijuana facilities.

They took the first step on Wednesday by holding a public hearing on a proposed zoning amendment that would prohibit marijuana grow operations, testing facilities, processing plants, micro-businesses, retailers, transport businesses, or home-based marijuana occupations from existing in any zoning district of the township. Furthermore, the proposed amendment states that any marijuana-related business that was in existence prior to the township’s new ordinance will not be allowed to claim legal non-conforming status.

Township Supervisor Allan Overhiser said the zoning amendment is necessary to prevent the new marijuana ordinance from legal challenges.

“Even though the township passed an ordinance prohibiting it (recreational marijuana establishments), this is including the entire zoning process,” said Township Supervisor Allan Overhiser. “People could challenge the zoning process if we don’t do this.”

Apparently, local residents aren’t all that interested at this point in challenging the proposed zoning text amendments.

“There was virtually no public comment at the public hearing,” Overhiser said. “Public sentiment has been negative toward it (marijuana-related businesses).”

Following Wednesday’s public hearing, the planning commission voted to recommend approval of the zoning amendment to the township board, which will meet March 18 to consider the measure.

The township board’s decision to “opt out” of Michigan’s Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to people. Last year, the township board also voted not to allow medical marijuana businesses.