Misstep Forces Bad Axe to Reconsider Cannabis Ordinance Vote

June 30th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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The Bad Axe City Council will need to rescind its previous motion to put its proposed cannabis ordinance to a public vote after learning it did not follow proper procedure.

The council will address this issue at the meeting on July 1st, where they will also vote on whether to approve the ordinance directly.

"According to the city attorney, we cannot put the ordinance on the ballot," stated Bad Axe City Manager Rebecca Bachman. "We were unaware that this was not permissible."

Bachman explained that the Bad Axe City Council must initially vote on the ordinance. The only way it could appear on the ballot is through a voter-initiated referendum.

A referendum requires signatures from 15% of the city's registered voters. If a petition with the necessary signatures is filed within the timeframe specified by the city charter, the clerk will present it to the council at the next regular meeting. These signatures must be collected within 30 days before the petition is filed with the clerk.

Previously, the council voted 4-3 to place the ordinance on the ballot.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Michigan following the 2018 general election, where 56% of voters supported Proposal 18-1. However, Huron County voters opposed the proposal, with a vote count of 8,261 against and 5,479 in favor. In Bad Axe, the proposal was narrowly rejected by a margin of seven votes, 541-534.

In early 2019, the city voted unanimously to ban cannabis facilities within city limits.

In 2021, non-residents expressed interest in establishing cannabis businesses in Bad Axe. The council, however, voted 4-2 against pursuing these discussions. Subsequently, the council authorized the Bad Axe Police Department to research ordinances from other municipalities.

In November 2023, the city finally decided to begin the process of developing a recreational cannabis ordinance for Bad Axe.

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