Saginaw Township says 'no' to commercial businesses selling pot

The use of recreational marijuana will become legal across Michigan on Thursday, but one local municipality is saying 'no' to commercial businesses selling the drug.

(PHOTO: WEYI/WSMH)

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The use of recreational marijuana will become legal across Michigan on Thursday, but one local municipality is saying 'no' to commercial businesses selling the drug.

“I think it's kind of stupid, I think that they should allow it here in Saginaw Township,” said resident Cody Billow.

“I can see the benefits and I can see the cons on it,” resident Sue Matzke stated.

Those who live in Saginaw Township are split between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the township's decision to say 'no' to the commercial sale of legal pot.

But Steve King, Director of Community Development says the township has their reasoning.

“We have a very large and robust business district and as of right now we want to make sure we're at minimum preserving the status quo and not doing any harm,” said King.

Two years ago, Saginaw Township chose a similar path when they decided to ban medical marijuana businesses.

While recreational pot is an entirely different ballgame, King says the township wants to be cautious to see how things transition in the state.

But that means no tax revenue and the question is...could it impact the township?

“It's impossible to know, it's also impossible to know what the costs might be of allowing such businesses in the community. If there are potentially problems associated with them that would negatively impact our other businesses, we don't know what those would be either,” King stated.

But Billow says if the township gave the green light, it could fix one major problem.

“We need the money to fix crap roads that we drive on every day,” Billow stated.

Meanwhile, Matzke is on the fence.

“I think maybe if they did, some of the harder drugs would not be so prevalent in the area, at the same point I’m afraid that if they do, you're going to have basically drunk drivers but drivers under the influence and I don't want to see that either,” said Matzke.

King says if the township was to allow commercial businesses to sell legal pot, it would be much more difficult for the township to opt out if it turned out to be detrimental to the community.

Saginaw Township has a planning commission meeting on Wednesday, December 4th where a request will be made to schedule a public hearing in January to hear the township's presentation on the proposed ordinance.

If it passes, people will still be allowed to carry and consume small amounts of marijuana, but the commercial sale of legal pot would not be allowed.


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