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Local ordinances look to ban commercial marijuana sales

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – You may not ever see any commercial marijuana businesses in downtown St. Joseph or Coloma even though voters in both cities showed that they support recreational marijuana.

Last night city commission meetings in St. Joseph and Coloma voted on ordinances that would block commercial marijuana facilities.

 “I feel like it’s really the people’s choice,” said St. Joseph resident Jon Goodwin. “I would feel like the petition would go against what the voters wanted.”

In St. Joseph sixty percent of voters were in favor of recreational marijuana on November 6th , and almost fifty-one percent of voters in Coloma voted yes to proposal one.

Despite that, Coloma city commissioner Julie Smith feels like blocking the commercial sales of marijuana is best for the city, and made the motion to opt out with a unanimous decision to do so.

“I don’t recall other than a small group of people who are pro marijuana usage,” she said.

And in St Joseph, City manager John Hodgsen says that the ordinance can change at any time.

“What it’s intended to do is really just stick a pin in things and keep the status quo while the state develops its regulations. Once we understand what the rules of the game are, then the city and the commission can come back and consider what we want in our community,” he said.

St. Joseph resident Jon Goodwin says the community could benefit from recreational marijuana sales –

“It would benefit even food businesses and schools cause a lot of the taxes… that’s for schools and roads and upkeep of things that need to be done,” Goodwin said.

In St. Joseph, the ordinance will be voted on again at the next commission meeting. If it passes, it will go into effect 10 days later. In Coloma, officials are getting attorneys involved to assure their opt-out holds.

“The city commission is very interested in  what the voters would like to see but we think that we need to understand what the state regulations are so that we can put everything in context,” said Hodgsen.

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