Bad Axe Voters to Decide on Recreational Cannabis Ordinance in November

June 18th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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In a 4-3 decision, the Bad Axe City Council voted to place the marijuana ordinance on the November ballot during its June 17th meeting.

If approved by voters, the ordinance would allow up to four recreational cannabis facilities in Bad Axe, specifically zoned in commercial and industrial areas.

Mayor Kathleen Particka initiated the motion and voted in favor of placing it on the ballot. Council Members Steve Perez, Dan Glaza, and Nicholas Rochefort also supported the motion. Opposing votes came from Council Members Joel Harrison, Clark McKimmy, and Dave Rapson.

Bad Axe City Manager Rebecca Bachman emphasized that the November vote will ultimately determine the outcome of the ordinance.

During the public comment period, two residents voiced their opinions on the issue.

Resident Kim Rosenthal expressed support for the ballot initiative, stating, "I think we all can agree that it's gotten bigger than seven people making this decision. I highly recommend it be put on the ballot and let the people decide." Rosenthal has consistently advocated for putting the ordinance to a public vote, asserting that the decision should rest with the citizens of Bad Axe.

On the other hand, resident John Hunt, owner of J.W. Hunt located on M-19, opposed the ordinance. "We're very highly regulated and marijuana is a very touchy subject with the feds and the transportation industry," Hunt said. "I do have a concern. I realize in the state of Michigan it's legal, but federally it's not, and we're held under a different standard and it makes it very difficult to employ people."

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Michigan following the 2018 general election, where 56% of Michigan residents voted "yes" on Proposal 18-1. However, Huron County voters opposed the state proposal 8,261 to 5,479, with the city of Bad Axe voting against it by a narrow seven-vote margin, 541 to 534.

In early 2019, the city initially voted unanimously to ban cannabis facilities within city limits. In 2021, the council was approached by non-residents interested in establishing such facilities in Bad Axe, but the council voted down the discussions 4-2. Subsequently, the city authorized the Bad Axe Police Department to research ordinances from other municipalities.

The city eventually approved starting the ordinance process to allow recreational cannabis facilities in November 2023.

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