By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville – During the regular meeting on Monday night, the village council voted 5-2 to instruct village manager Bill Sprague to have an ordinance banning marijuana sales establishments in the village drafted.
Voting for the motion were council members Colleen Skornicka, Mark Robinson, Dan Eschmann, Pat George and Mark Butzu. Against the motion were council president Tonja Brice and councilman Larry Hayden.
Hayden had originally made a motion to instruct Sprague to further investigate the possibility of allowing marijuana establishments, but the motion was voted down, 2-5.
“Just like other legislations past, like the sewers, whether I’m personally in favor of it or not, I have to respect the will of our community,” said Hayden. “They voted in favor of the act. I think that we definitely should investigate.”
Ortonville residents voted through proposal one in November, with 65 percent of voters voting yes in precinct 6.
“That’s what my goal is, is more information,” said Brice.
After the first motion failed, the second motion was made by Eschmann and seconded by Butzu.
One concern that the council members opposed to the first motion brought up was that while the residents voted in favor of legalizing marijuana, they may not have understood or read the entire proposal. Some also thought that though residents voted to legalize marijuana, it may not mean they want a marijuana establishment in the village.
Currently, surrounding areas that have also passed ordinances banning marijuana establishments are Goodrich Village, with a 5-0 vote on Jan. 14 , Brandon Township, with a 4-3 vote on the first reading on Dec. 3, and Atlas Township, with a 5-0 vote on Nov. 19. Ortonville residents approved the legalization of marijuana during the Nov. 6 election, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state of Michigan.
Unlike medical marijuana, communities wishing to not have sales establishments must opt. out of them. Communities with medical establishments had to opt. in. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has up to a year to come up with regulations and licensing for recreational marijuana establishments for the state. Michigan is the first midwest state to legalize marijuana.