Cannabis on the ballot in upcoming primary election in Niles Charter Township

NOW: Cannabis on the ballot in upcoming primary election in Niles Charter Township

NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Six months ago, Matelyn Patterson was out drumming up support to put cannabis on the November ballot in Niles Charter Township— and collected hundreds of signatures, hoping to bring dispensaries to the township, along with potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s an exciting time,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to economic development for Niles Township. Niles Township doesn’t have a lot going for it. We don’t have any amenities, we don’t have any new companies coming in. I want to change that.”

The initiative—called the Petition Initiated Marihuana Establishments Ordinance—would allow for a minimum of four dispensaries within the township limits, as well as four grow operations, four processing facilities, one safety compliance facility and a minimum of three consumption establishments.

Patterson said the license fees and excise taxes from those establishments would then be used to help fund public works in the township.

But some residents aren’t entirely sold on the idea.

“I just wonder how they’re gonna handle it when they have one on every corner,” said Keith Krenier, who’s lived in the township for over twenty years. “How are they supposed to survive and keep their business going when you dilute it to all the other ones, because they’re popping up all over.”

Krenier doesn’t consume cannabis, though he knows people who do, and have said they’ve benefited from it.

Despite his worries that the market may become oversaturated—as nearby cities like Niles and Buchanan combined have at least eight dispensaries—he believed the proposal will pass in the upcoming election.

“I would suspect it will,” he said. “There’s enough people that want it, you know?”

As for Patterson, though, she’s still working hard to get information out to voters, and even if the vote passes, she said there is still much more work to be done.

“I’m right now spending time calling possible investors with restaurants and stores, with the heads up ‘hey we’re gonna be green here, we’d like to have you come,’” she said. “I mean, cherry pick, not [bring in] franchises and drive-thrus, but legitimate, really cool operations. Not cookie cutter stuff, with a lot of personality to make this the destination up in Michigan.”

This is one of two proposals set to be on the ballot in Niles Charter Township on the coming election day on November 8.

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