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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Greenlake Officials Debate Recreational Marijuana Law

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INTERLOCHEN — Greenlake town trustees are expected to continue discussing opening their community to the sale of recreational marijuana, after voters approved a ballot proposal in November.

“The voters decided, all we have to do is implement it,” said Colin Shorem, chairman of the borough’s planning committee. “What I don’t want to do is overcomplicate it.”

The ballot proposal, passed November 8 by a vote count of 1,859 to 1,476, obliges officials to enact an ordinance allowing two recreational use retailers to operate within the borough.

The ballot proposal also approved up to two state-licensed marijuana sellers, three each from growers, processors, safe transportation companies, and safety compliance companies.

On Wednesday, members of the town’s planning commission held a public hearing about the ordinance and then, in conversation with town attorney Brian Graham, approved an amended version that fixed a typo and clarified some terms.

“I think it would make the definitions clearer if we added the phrase, ‘Under Michigan regulations and the marijuana tax code’ so we know which definitions relate to the specific state law,” Graham said.

Steve Eisell, owner of Interlochen Alternative Health, a medical-marijuana-only retailer near Interlochen Corners, said he led the ballot effort and planned to apply for one of the recreational licenses.

If approved, Ezell said, his eventual plans are to build a new store on vacant property he owns outside of town on US 31.

Green Lake Township officials previously voted 4-3 against allowing recreational marijuana establishments, with opponents expressing concerns about the community’s image and questioning whether local recreational sales are needed because residents can drive to nearby Honor to shop.

The ballot decision by the electors supersedes the vote of the borough trustees and the planning committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to send the law amendment to the entire borough council.

The Board is scheduled to meet on Monday at 5pm, in the Golden Fellowship Hall on Riley Road.

Michigan voters approved the sale of medical marijuana in 2008; In 2018, voters passed Proposition 18-1, legalizing recreational marijuana for those 21 and older.

Federal law still prohibits the use of psychoactive plants.

The statewide proposal, which came with a 10 percent tax on retail sales, allows municipalities to limit the number of recreational use businesses or ban them outright, but tax revenue is shared only with those municipalities that choose to participate.

Records show that no tax is levied on medical sales.

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