Elected officials in the Whitehall have given their consent for the support of medical marijuana but say no to the recreational cannabis on Tuesday. On Oct 22, a divided form of the council in the Whitehall City voted 4-3 to approve the regulation that allows the operation of medical marijuana as a business within the city limits.
It allows for 3 dispensaries for medical marijuana to be operational in the general business-based districts of the city and a limitless number of processors, grow operations, safety testing facilities and secured transporters to operate in the industrial zone of Whitehall.
When applying for a license, pot entrepreneurs have to pay a nonrefundable fee of $1.200, as mentioned in the ordinance. Every year the permit needs to be renewed by paying an annual fee of $5,000. The city voted down two measures that would have allowed the growth and sale of recreational marijuana. Since no one on the city council made a motion, this resolution failed.
Pro tem Ellie Dennis, the Mayor and council members Norm Kittleson, Scott Brown and Steven Salter voted in favor of allowing medical marijuana. Council members Dick Connell and Virginia DeMumbrum along with Mayor Debi Hillerbrand voted no.
The reason for voting no for recreational pot was that it did not feel like it had a place in Whitefall, says Hillerbrand. Dennis added that her purpose was the lack of information. The city council did not have enough information to decide the matter. If they would have said yes, there was no going back. Now that they have voted it down, the research can continue to see how things go in other communities, says Dennis. DeMumbrum agreed with Dennis and said that Whitefall should not be a guinea pig for recreational pot sales.
The packed crowd hollered and cheered after the voting down of recreational marijuana. In public comments, some of them mentioned that they are strenuously against the growing and selling of recreational pot in Whitefall. A young businessman, Robert Young, who also termed himself as a former pot dealer and an ex-drug user, said that despite its legal status in Michigan, marijuana is still a gateway drug. He also mentioned how he had spent almost 35 years counseling and helping drug users to get their lives back. He did not want the city to promote any growth or approval of marijuana facilities.
During the public comment, Ann Davidson mentioned that she believes marijuana has psychoactive chemicals, higher amounts of THC, and it could be dangerous for children or for people who never tried cannabis.