Alpena Township OKs marijuana shops

AP Photo A marijuana bud is seen before harvesting near Corvallis, Ore. on Sept. 30, 2016.

ALPENA — More marijuana shops could crop up in the Alpena area after the Alpena Township Board of Trustees on Monday voted to permit medical and recreational marijuana businesses in the township.

A motion to accept the ordinance passed with the support of five members. Trustees Cash Kroll and Russ Rhynard voted against the change.

Before the vote, trustees passed an amendment removing microbusinesses – or small-batch grow operations – from the list of allowed marijuana shops.

They also added places of worship to a list of locations from which marijuana shops must keep a distance of at least 750 feet, which also includes child care centers, schools, addiction treatment centers, and parks.

Opposing the vote to accept marijuana businesses in the township, Rhynard said police and the courts will have difficulty stopping people from driving under the influence of the drug.

The quality of life in the Alpena area is more important than the money such businesses would bring in from the state, he said, noting that the City of Alpena has already OKed three recreational marijuana shops, and the drug is also sold at shops in surrounding counties.

“How many more do we need?” he asked.

With little other discussion, the trustees voted to allow the shops.

State money that will accompany marijuana sales will go into the township general fund, to be used at the discretion of trustees, Township Supervisor Nathan Skibbe said.

He did not know who might apply for a license, how long the licensing process will take, or how soon marijuana shops could arrive in the township.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.


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