Alpena needs to allow marijuana sales

I have learned that the City of Alpena is considering banning marijuana dispensaries and related businesses in response to the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.

While I certainly appreciate the good intentions of those seeking the ban, this knee-jerk reaction is not the proper response to the statewide legalization of marijuana.

First, we must remember that our Northeast Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and is losing population. To reverse this trend, we must market ourselves as a progressive community, and we cannot do that by going against what the voters of this state have legalized.

Second, for those concerned about the dangers of marijuana, banning its sale would only force the product “underground” and contribute to illegal sales. A product is always easier to regulate and police when its use is legal and “above ground.” We learned this all too well during the Great Depression, when alcohol sales were banned.

In closing, it is my hopes that the Municipal Council uses common sense and allows marijuana sales to go forward as allowed by Michigan law.