Bad Axe Weighs Legalization Impact: Marijuana Facilities on Council Agenda

November 19th, 2023 Legislation & Policy Updates
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The Bad Axe City Council is set to make a pivotal decision regarding the approval of marijuana facilities within the city limits. This decision will be made during their meeting scheduled for Monday, November 20th at 6:30 p.m.

Discussions about amending the city's marijuana ordinance reemerged in early 2022. This was initiated by a decision of the city council, permitting then-Police Chief David Rothe and the current Police Chief Shawn Webber to study the approaches of other municipalities and areas in integrating marijuana facilities and businesses into their communities.

City Manager Rebecca Bachman highlighted the significance of this upcoming decision. "This is asking the council if they want to allow these establishments to come to the city of Bad Axe," she stated. Bachman also mentioned that a draft ordinance is prepared, but the council's approval is essential before moving forward with the planning commission.

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan occurred in 2018, following the passage of Proposal 1. However, in Bad Axe, the proposal was narrowly defeated, with 541 votes against and 534 in favor. Similarly, the broader county mirrored this opposition, with 8,261 votes against and 5,479 in favor, except for the city of Caseville, which voted in favor of the ordinance (190-179).

Chief Webber shared insights from his research into other municipalities. He noted that tax revenue from marijuana facilities substantially exceeded that from other businesses. Regarding crime rates, Webber recalled conversations with officers from Bay County, where incidents related to marijuana facilities were minimal, described as a "small blip on their radar." He acknowledged a few break-ins at such facilities across Michigan but emphasized these were infrequent and did not significantly impact local crime rates.

Since the legalization in 2018, various locales such as the city of Caseville and Oliver Township have enacted medical marijuana ordinances. Sebewaing Township has an ordinance for growing. In contrast, the city of Bad Axe voted in 2019 to ban marijuana facilities, a stance it has reaffirmed twice since.

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