By Joe Tilton
April 25, 2019
Michigan Township Association Lawyer, Catherine Mullhaupt, came to the Montcalm Township Association meeting Tuesday the 16th, with further information on marijuana issues for the state. Townships and municipalities are square in the sights of the recreational pot industry, so Mullhaupt’s advice was intended to give township officials a heads-up on issues to face them.
“Marijuana is still illegal,” she said, “The new law, passed by referendum, regulates it.” She went on to explain the law, passed outside the legislative process, is poorly written and confusing. She also said issues in question will go to court for details to be worked out.
“Emergency” rules have been written to bridge the time gap until courts can decipher it all.
Mullhaupt told of two very-wealthy investors who had approached MTA in an attempt to block their competition for business through townships. She then followed with information about a low number of legal and licensed dispensaries in the state will likely cause government to “allow more facilities so sections of Michigan will not be left behind.” That means locations where “medical” marijuana is not available the state may have “mercy” on places where pot is not available.
A question was asked about citizens having a right to “referendum” their local township when the majority had voted in favor of recreational pot and the township board opted out. The answer is affirmative; they can attempt to override the local board, but opponents can do the same, causing a never-ending cycle of forcing an opt in, then an opt out, and on and on.
The attorney cautioned employers to consider their personnel policies now to be sure use of marijuana on the job is against their policy, and reporting for work while still high. She addressed the issue of public safety, citing other states with legal-recreational use where traffic crashes have risen and people have died at the hands of “oblivious” drivers who don’t see a red light or stop sign, or who drive faster because they perceive they are going slow due to THC ingestion.
The first legal dispensary in Michigan will open October 18, although there are many sites selling pot already.
The Attorney also reminded the township officials how there is no difference in “medical” marijuana and “recreational.” It’s all THC. The difference, if there is any, is in the reason for using.
Other issues discussed included a report by Sheriff Mike Williams. Several companies collecting the $2.85 fee per telephone device to fund the 911 call center for the county have not paid. “They collect the fee but forget to pass it on.”
Breakfast with the Sheriff will be in Coral on May 10th, and Lunch with the Sheriff will be May 15th at 11:30 at La Cocina in Trufant.
County Administrator, Bob Clingenpeel told the group, “It would be nice if we can all play by the same rules.” He was referencing ordinances regarding wind and solar-energy production across the county. Townships have the say on rules. And, he reminded the officials that Gratiot County has realized $40-million in tax income from wind-turbine generation.
MTA’s next meeting will be June 18 and the following gathering will be October 8th.
Originally Published in Lakeview Area News, Lakeview Michigan