Public Divides Over Cannabis Ordinance at Bad Axe Planning Commission Meeting

April 25th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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The Bad Axe Planning Commission recently held a public hearing on April 24th to discuss zoning related to a proposed cannabis ordinance, generating a mixture of support and opposition among residents. The meeting took place at Bad Axe City Hall, following an earlier session held by the Bad Axe City Council where the community first voiced their concerns.

At the latest hearing, residents expressed varied opinions on whether cannabis establishments should be allowed within the city. Proponents like Megan Mellas emphasized the potential benefits, arguing that approved establishments would provide safe, regulated access to cannabis both for recreational and medicinal purposes. Mellas highlighted the educational opportunities such facilities could offer on responsible usage and noted the economic growth, education enhancements, and cultural impacts they could bring. Additionally, she pointed out that legal sales locations would help undercut the illegal market.

Brock McCellan also supported the ordinance, reminding attendees that cannabis is already legal statewide. He argued that the community would benefit from regulated access points within the city rather than forcing residents to seek alternatives elsewhere.

In contrast, opposition came from residents like Luke Deming, who expressed concerns over increased access to cannabis and the potential for abuse. Deming criticized the notion of promoting such businesses in a community already tackling drug issues.

During the meeting, Bad Axe City Manager Rebecca Bachman clarified that the commission was not voting but rather discussing potential zoning implications and preparing recommendations for the Bad Axe City Council. Planning Commission member Jesse Klaska raised concerns about the proximity of proposed retail locations to residential areas, particularly apartments in the downtown area.

The discussion also covered operational concerns. Police Chief Shawn Webber was present to address regulatory questions, emphasizing that consumption of recreational cannabis would be restricted to private residences and explaining that any public complaints would be handled by the state's Cannabis Regulatory Agency.

The session concluded with an acknowledgment that the proposal would undergo further review by the city attorney before potentially being included on the agenda for a final vote by the city council in May.

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