Townships Under Attack

Posted on August 6, 2022 View all news

Three townships in our county have become targets of the marijuana industry with intent to force legal pot sales in their midst. Montcalm Township, Sidney and Crystal, and possibly Greenville, have been named by promoters as locations where sellers want to set up business regardless of citizens desires.

David Overholt of Sidney, who is not a resident of Montcalm Township, emailed other proponents with information reading, “Since Crystal Township voters turned away a ballot measure that would have forced the township board to write an ordinance prohibiting recreational marijuana, we have decided to push forward with ballot measures in [those townships] to opt-in to recreational marijuana.” He said the same during the October Mont- calm Township Board meeting.

This intended action comes after Montcalm Township property owners said “no” to marijuana sales. Montcalm even solidified their stand during their November 13th Township meeting that wiped a “proposed Ordinance” (2019-05) off the books and reaffirmed the prohibition of marijuana facilities within the township as set forth in township Ordinance number 2019-01 entitled, ‘An ordinance to prohibit marijuana establishments and facilities in Montcalm Township.’”

Not only do pot merchants ignore the stand Montcalm Township took, but announced action to force the issue on them again by placing petitions for signatures at business, all outside Montcalm, which apparently support marijuana sales and use in a place other than their home township. The business list in Greenville includes:   Burning ScentSations (the only one with a Montcalm Township address), Vaping Sensations and Simply CBD. In Sheridan, you can sign at AAA Hydroponics, Ar- mock’s Auto Salvage and Exit Realty. In Sidney, it’s CBP Farmers Market. Again, only one petition-signing location is in Montcalm Township. There are different petitions for Montcalm and Sidney.

Here is the ordinance Mr. Overholt intends to force on Montcalm Township:

NUMBER OF MARI- HUANA ESTABLISHMENTS ALLOWED WITHIN A MUNICI- PALITY

[an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments al- lowed within a municipality]

  1. Pursuant to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, the township of Montcalm elects to set the number of state licensed marijuana establishments allowed within its boundaries, as follows:
    1. Marihuana safety compliance facility – 1
    1. Marihuana secure transporter – 1
    1. Marihuana microbusinesses [150 plants] – un- limited
    1. Marihuana retailer – 2
    1. Marihuana processor – 2
    1. Class A Marijuana grower [100 plants] – 2
    1. Class B Marijuana grower [1,000 plants] – 2
    1. Class C Marijuana grower [2,000 plants] – 2

2. No members of the public shall be allowed entry into any marijuana establishment except for marijuana retailers or marijuana microbusinesses that are not accessible to persons under 21 years of age. Marijuana retailers or marijuana microbusinesses are authorized to allow consumption in designated areas.

  • The municipality shall establish an application for a marijuana establishment permit, and may adopt rules therefore and related police power ordinances and zoning ordinances that are not unreasonably im- practicable and do not conflict with the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act or with any rule promulgated pursuant thereto, and may charge an annual fee of not more than

$5,000 to defray application, administrative, and enforcement costs associated with the operation of the marijuana establish ment in this municipality.

  • Property, where the proposed marijuana establishment, is to be located may not be not within an area zoned exclusively for residential use, nor within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12.
  • The various parts, sections and clauses of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of the Ordinance shall not be affected thereby.”

If you’re a resident of Montcalm Township, you can drive to Sheridan to sign the petition at AAA Hydroponics or the other locations listed above.

Sidney and Crystal can expect an onslaught of activity such as threats on Montcalm, and most likely with the same ballot proposal as the one above. Timing has not been disclosed.

Lakeview’s Village Council gave an emphatic “NO” to marijuana, keeping these merchants of destruction out of their midst. A Detroit’s Free Press article, written by Kristen Shamus, quotes Dr. An- drew King of Detroit who said, “Marijuana is a drug, even if it’s legal for recreational use in Michigan. We are starting to see indications that chronic usage does lead to worse health outcomes. Some people who use cannabis have been treated in emergency rooms for agitation, psychosis, anxiety, fast heart rate, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain as well as addiction issues.”

Shamus also writes, “Already, the Michigan Poison Center has reported an uptick in calls in 2019 about children—some younger than 6, who have eaten edible marijuana products like brownies, chocolate bars, candy and gummies. Since the start of the year, the Michigan Poison Center at Wayne State University has gotten 420 calls to its helpline related to cannabis exposure. One- quarter of the calls, 104, involved kids under the age of 18. That compares with a total of six cannabis-related calls to the Michigan Poison Center in 2017 and one call in 2014. More than half of the calls about children involved edible marijuana products, according to data collected by the center’s Medical Director, Dr. Cynthia Aaron.

Even before “recreational” sales are legal, Michigan is going down the same path as Colorado. We now know what this disaster is doing to us, both to individual citizens, municipalities and the state. Now that we see the trouble we are in, why must we keep declaring marijuana “no big deal?”

An article on the im- pact of hemp/marijuana/cannabis industry is having on the Amish community was intended for this week, but it will have to be next week.

Originally Published in Lakeview Area News, Lakeview Michigan

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