Bad Axe City Council Advances Draft Cannabis Ordinance, Seeks Public Input

March 5th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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The Bad Axe City Council has taken a significant step towards the regulation of cannabis businesses within the city by voting on the first draft of a new cannabis ordinance. In a unanimous decision, with two members abstaining, the council has moved the ordinance forward to the planning commission for further scrutiny.

City Manager Rebecca Bachman highlighted the ordinance's progression, noting that its passage initiates a series of public hearings conducted by both the planning commission and the city council. This essential phase ensures community engagement and feedback before the ordinance can be finalized and implemented.

During deliberations, Council Member Joel Harrison expressed concerns about the potential impact of new businesses on the city's landscape. He advocated for a requirement that new cannabis businesses occupy existing buildings to prevent the possibility of adding vacant structures to the city if a business fails. Although the current ordinance does not address this preference, Bad Axe Police Chief Shawn Webber and Bachman assured the council that they would investigate how similar concerns were managed by other cities and consider a resolution to incorporate such a requirement.

The proposed ordinance outlines specific regulations for cannabis businesses, allowing for the establishment of micro-businesses and retail stores within designated zones. Micro-businesses, which cultivate and sell their products on-site, are restricted to the industrial district, while retail stores are confined to the business district. Additionally, the ordinance limits the number of each type of business to two within the city.

This movement comes after Michigan voters approved the recreational use of cannabis in 2018 through Proposal 1-18. Despite initial resistance, including a unanimous vote against permitting cannabis facilities in Bad Axe and subsequent rejections of proposals to introduce such establishments, the city council reversed its stance in November 2023. This decision opened the door to recreational cannabis facilities in Bad Axe, marking a significant shift in the city's approach to cannabis regulation.

The region has seen varying responses to cannabis legislation since 2018, with nearby locales adopting different stances on medical and recreational cannabis. Notably, Port Austin Township residents recently voted to prohibit recreational cannabis dispensaries in their area, highlighting the diverse perspectives on cannabis within the surrounding communities.

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