BENTON TOWNSHIP — The Berrien County Board of Health is not fired up about the recreational use of marijuana, an issue that could be on the November ballot in Michigan.
The board on Wednesday passed a resolution directed to “the Citizens of Berrien County,” stating that its members and the county health department “strongly oppose the use of marijuana for recreational purposes and will continue to inform and educate residents and policymakers on the potential harms, risk factors and devastating public health effects that expanding marijuana use could have in the State of Michigan.”
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has turned in about 365,000 signatures to the state in hopes of getting its legislation to legalize recreational pot on the Nov. 6 ballot. Signatures are being reviewed by the Board of Canvassers, and there is a 252,523-signature requirement for it to be on the ballot.
Michigan legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2008, and nine states have approved recreational use, including Colorado and California. Marijuana use of any kind remains against federal law.
Gillian Conrad, communications manager for the health department, clarified that the resolution “is not a blatant opposition to the proposed law for recreational marijuana, but is rather in opposition of the general use of marijuana for recreational purposes and serves a communication tool between the board and the community.”
In addition, Dr. Rick Johansen, the health department’s medical director, “has the pulse of medical directors and physicians around the state, and has shared the general consensus of the medical community to be very cautious on this issue. The belief is that we need to slow down the speed of these decisions to clearly