Bad Axe Businesses and Residents Weigh In on Recreational Marijuana Ordinance

February 5th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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As Bad Axe progresses with the implementation of its recreational marijuana ordinance, local business owners and residents are voicing their opinions on the development. Although the process for businesses to receive licensing and open their doors is still underway, the community's anticipation and concerns highlight a mix of optimism and caution.

Craig and Daisy Harris, proprietors of Pete's Bar, are among the supporters of the ordinance, recognizing the potential financial benefits for the town. "We're all for the passing of the ordinance," Daisy Harris stated, emphasizing their eagerness to see tax revenue generated for Bad Axe. Craig Harris added that their business would likely remain unaffected, as marijuana consumption in bars remains prohibited.

Shar Mohr, the owner of Green Girl Wellness and a vocal advocate for marijuana regulation since Michigan's Proposal 1 passed in 2018, has been actively involved in promoting the ordinance. "Back in December of 2018, when they held the first meeting on this, I was the only citizen to show up in favor of it," Mohr recounted. Her commitment extends beyond advocacy; she has also conducted educational sessions at local libraries to address concerns and provide information on recreational marijuana use, emphasizing the importance of handling substance use disorder sensitively within families.

Mohr and others believe that tax revenue from marijuana sales could significantly benefit Bad Axe, and they argue that public safety concerns are often overstated. Police Chief Shawn Webber, having consulted with law enforcement in other municipalities, reported minimal to no increase in safety incidents, with a slight uptick in retail fraud being the notable exception.

However, not all community members share this optimism. Luke Deming, a local resident, expresses concern about increased access to marijuana, particularly for non-medical use, and the potential risks to children, citing edibles like gummies that could be mistaken for regular candy.

Mike Peterson, another resident, calls for more comprehensive education on marijuana. As a parent, community advocate, and business owner, Peterson sees the necessity of open dialogue about marijuana, emphasizing the responsibility of users to store it safely and the importance of understanding both the benefits and potential drawbacks of its use.

Bad Axe stands out in Huron County as the sole municipality moving forward with a recreational marijuana ordinance, while others, such as Caseville and Oliver Township, have implemented medical ordinances, and Sebewaing Township has established a growing ordinance.

This development in Bad Axe reflects broader conversations happening in communities across Michigan as they navigate the complexities of integrating recreational marijuana within their local economies and social fabrics. The dialogue underscores a community grappling with the balance between economic opportunity, public safety, and the need for education and responsible use.

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