MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Voters in Holton Township have given the approval to recreational marijuana businesses opening in their community.

A question on Tuesday’s ballot asking voters whether they wish to “completely prohibit” recreational marijuana businesses from opening in the township failed, with 305 people voting “yes” to ban recreational marijuana businesses, and 348 people voting “no,” according to unofficial results from the Holton Township clerk.

Because the measure was defeated, the local ordinance will default to the decision of the township board, which voted in December to approve recreational facilities.

Tuesday’s vote was a result of the township board’s move to allow medical marijuana businesses after voters narrowly rejected a measure to allow medical marijuana establishments within the township’s commercial and agricultural areas.

After that vote, in May 2019, the township board voted 3-2 to strike all zoning language from its medical marijuana ordinance, which allowed medical marijuana establishments anywhere in the township – not only in commercial and agricultural areas – provided they receive township board and state approval.

As a result of the board’s move to allow medical marijuana, some citizens decided to proactively petition against recreational marijuana facilities, township Clerk Sarah Hippler previously told MLive.

“There were quite a few who were pretty upset about it,” she said, of the authorization of medical marijuana. “After that happened, that’s when the initiative to prohibit recreational facilities came about, like they were trying to get a jump on it.”

In spite of that petition, the township board voted 3-1 at a regular board meeting on Dec. 10, 2019, to approve recreational marijuana businesses. With Tuesday’s outcome at the ballot box, that decision prevails, and those businesses may begin applying for licenses to operate within township boundaries.

Two medical marijuana dispensaries are in the process of opening in the township, pending state licensing, according to township Supervisor Alan Jager. One is planned on Holton Road near the intersection with Ewing Road, and the other near the intersection with Brickyard Road.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2008, and recreational marijuana was legalized in 2018. The first recreational dispensaries in the state opened their doors in December.

Those opposed to bringing marijuana business to Holton Township have said they think it will bring crime and blight into their community, according to township board meeting minutes.

Supporters of cannabis businesses said they will bring tax revenue into Holton Township.

“Like all businesses, you pay a tax,” Jager previously said of marijuana establishments in an MLive interview. “And yet you can grow this illegally all over our township and not pay a dime. If you have a business, whether it’s marijuana or not, you should pay taxes.”

Read more on MLive

Future of marijuana dispensaries in Holton Township to be decided by voters

Holton voters narrowly defeat medical marijuana proposal

Recreational marijuana sales arrive for enthusiastic customers in Muskegon

Michigan recreational marijuana sales increased 29% in January


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