Fenton Residents Divided Over Proposed Cannabis Dispensary

April 18th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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Officials in Fenton, Michigan, gathered for a town hall meeting on Wednesday, April 17th, to engage with residents regarding the potential establishment of a recreational cannabis dispensary in the city. Council member Tracy Bottecelli emphasized the importance of community input in shaping the city's approach to cannabis regulation, noting the absence of a current ordinance on the matter.

The meeting followed unsuccessful attempts by local advocates to place referendums on the ballot to amend city ordinances or the charter concerning cannabis dispensaries. Despite the invalidation of two petitions, a new petition effort is underway.

During the town hall, opinions on the dispensary were deeply divided. Some community members, including a local school official, voiced strong opposition, arguing that a dispensary could pose risks to the youth by increasing their exposure to cannabis. Concerns were raised about the potential impact on the safety and development of children in the community.

On the other side of the debate, advocates for the dispensary urged the city to proactively establish regulations to maintain some degree of control over the sale and distribution of cannabis. They highlighted the complexity of the cannabis industry and warned against the risks of inaction or delayed policy formulation.

City officials mentioned that a petition is expected to circulate this summer aiming to gather enough signatures to amend the city's ordinance to permit dispensaries within city limits. This move could pave the way for controlled and regulated cannabis sales in Fenton, depending on the outcome of community consultations and the resulting regulatory framework.

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