Trustees weigh in on marijuana issues

WATERVLIET — Watervliet Township Trustees agree they need to make it known their opinion on medical and recreation marijuana, because entrepreneurs and voters in the township want it. 

Township Supervisor Dan Hutchins reported earlier this week that the township has received written requests from someone interested in having a medical marijuana business, and from someone else interested in having a recreational marijuana business. 

Watervliet Township voters approved of Proposal 1 by a vote of 626 to 497. Proposal 1 legalized recreational marijuana use in Michigan, starting sometime next month.

“If a majority of the township board is opposed to either one of these then I think we should make that clear and opt out before we spend a lot of time and money with our attorneys and the planning commission putting together an ordinance that you’re not going to accept anyways,” Hutchins said. 

Trustees agreed that medical and recreational should be considered separately because not enough is known yet about recreational. The state licensing system for recreational marijuana will take a couple of years to put into place. 

“The rules for medical marijuana are pretty much complete,” Trustee Joe Stepich said. “I think we should defer on recreational and meet about the medical stuff before we make a decision to learn more about the rules and regulations that exist. If we’re going to make a decision, let’s make an informed decision.”

The board agreed to tentatively set a special joint meeting with the township’s Planning Commission for 3 p.m. Dec. 5 to discuss opting in or out on medical marijuana.

“I think if the board decides they want to opt out of medical marijuana then it’s not very likely that the board would vote to opt in to recreational,” Stepich said. 

Trustee Tom Scheid said he thinks there is room for medical marijuana in the township. 

In other business, the Township Board was presented the new master plan. 

The township’s Planning Commission created the plan themselves in an effort to save money. Hutchins said it saved the township about $20,000. 

Stepich, who sits on the Planning Commission, said the next steps are to get board input and approval to move it to a public hearing. Once the public can give their opinion and changes are considered, it comes back to the Township Board for final approval. 

Trustees agreed they needed a little bit more time to consider the plan before giving their preliminary approval. They agreed to vote to move it forward at their special budget meeting at 3 p.m. Nov. 28.

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