MUSKEGON, MI – At least three Muskegon city commissioners said they support a proposed ordinance allowing medical marijuana facilities in Muskegon – including dispensaries – as long as they are confined to a special district off Seaway Drive.
Nearly 50 people attended the commission’s work session Monday, Oct. 9, for discussion of a proposed medical marijuana ordinance. The commission decided to take another two weeks to mull the pros and cons following a lengthy debate and an informal public hearing.
Those who expressed support of the proposal included Mayor Stephen Gawron and commissioners Debra Warren and Ken Johnson.
Commissioner Byron Turnquist expressed the most vocal opposition to the ordinance, calling it a figurative deal with “the devil.”
The proposed ordinance would allow growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, secure transport for suppliers and dispensaries, labeled legally as “provisioning centers,” in the district, provided operators get necessary permits.
The city currently allows caregivers and patients to grow medical marijuana plants. This new ordinance would move existing grow operations into the proposed district – again, only if they can acquire the necessary permits.
Johnson said taxing and regulating medical marijuana facilities could create a strong economic boon for Muskegon. By locking growers and dispensaries into a tight district, Muskegon’s would-be medical marijuana industry could flourish without competition.
This map shows the proposed Muskegon medical marijuana overlay district, where potential pot growers and dispensaries could operate.Courtesy | City of Muskegon
Some of that tax money, Johnson added, could go back to law enforcement and other areas in need of higher revenues.
Turnquist countered that assertion, warning fellow commissioners to not let money cloud their judgment.
“I don’t think this is a decision that should be motivated by economic gain for the city,” Turnquist said. “We all know we’re looking for more money, but this is