Orchard Lake to Deliberate on Cannabis Business Proposal in Upcoming Council Meeting

March 27th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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Residents of Orchard Lake are currently facing a significant decision regarding the potential introduction of cannabis sales within their city limits. A real estate developer specializing in cannabis properties is pushing for the city to reconsider its stance against cannabis businesses. In response to this effort, the city council has scheduled a special meeting to deliberate on the matter.

The city's building official, Gerry McCallum, disclosed that Orchard Lake had previously decided against hosting cannabis-related businesses. However, this position is now being challenged. McCallum highlighted a recent influx of inquiries from residents who received misleading mailings that mimicked official city communications. These mailings, which were actually distributed by advocates for cannabis sales, falsely appeared to be conducting a survey on behalf of the city. McCallum clarified that these mailings were not sanctioned by the city and were instead initiated by Jeffrey Yatooma, a cannabis real estate developer.

This campaign has sparked controversy among the community, with many residents expressing opposition to the idea of permitting cannabis businesses in Orchard Lake. The city also received formal communication from Anderson Grandstaff, an attorney based in Ypsilanti, who is representing the push to overturn the city's ban on recreational cannabis. Grandstaff outlined two options for city officials: either adopt the proposed ordinance, with or without amendments, or prepare for a petition drive that could lead to a ballot initiative.

With a population of just over 2,300, Orchard Lake would require approximately 80 signatures to bring the issue to a vote. The cost of such an election to the city would vary depending on whether it is conducted as a standalone ballot initiative or included in a larger election cycle.

The upcoming council meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27th, 2024, at City Hall, is set to offer a platform for Grandstaff and his client to present their proposed ordinance. While no decisions will be made during this meeting, it will allow for a public discussion, with city council members and residents engaging in dialogue. Public attendees will have the opportunity to voice their opinions, though each speaker will be limited to three minutes.

This situation arises from concerns about the suitability of introducing cannabis businesses into Orchard Lake's limited commercial districts. The community's initial decision to opt out of cannabis sales was influenced by the desire to maintain the character of these areas. As the city council and residents weigh the arguments, there is a shared hope that the outcome will reflect the community's preferences regarding the future of cannabis sales in Orchard Lake.

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