2017-10-11 / Front Page

Worth adopts ‘hedge strategy’ on medical pot

BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com

WORTH TWP. — The seven members of the township planning commission are going to be doubly busy this fall.

They have been directed by a unanimous vote of the township board on Oct. 4 to draft two ordinances, one opting in and the second opting out of provisions of the new Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act.

Although the law stipulates if a municipality does not affirmatively act by approving an enabling ordinance, no newly state-licensed marijuana business can open there, Trustee Walt Badgerow was not satisfied.

“The Michigan Township Association has said that we may be better protected by officially opting out,” said Badgerow.

In response, Supervisor Phil Essenmacher stated, “My feelings are we should send the issue to the planning commission and ask them to craft an ordinance both ways. That way we can see just what kind and what number, if any, of new marijuana facilities they might be contemplating.”

“Sixty-seven percent of Worth voters approved medical marijuana in 2008,” said Clerk Jennifer Stanyer. “I think we should get some ordinances drafted so we have something to look at.”

“Yes,” responded Treasurer Jennifer Woodruff, “but we ought not let this thing get drawn out for one to two years. I know it’s complicated. You can’t say anybody is an expert, but I’m thinking 60 to 90 days.”

“I don’t want this community to be set in a mass uproar,” stated Stanyer. “I think a public hearing of the planning commission is where people should come and make their opinions known.”

Stanyer moved that the board direct the planning commission to draft ordinances “both for and against” opting into the expansion of medical marijuana facilities, saying, “The planning commission can then hold a public hearing and report its recommendation to the board.”

The township board has been approached by a developer interested in starting more than one class of medical marijuana businesses in the township.

In other business, the board voted to purchase a couple of lots on Yale Street directly to the east of the township office for a total of $4,000 plus legal fees and closing costs. This is the second acquisition of Yale Street property by the township. Earlier this year it bought another neighboring parcel for $4,610.

“The idea,” said Essenmacher, “is to eventually expand our parking lot and to possibly erect a DPW building and maybe a small children’s play area.”

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