By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville- During the special meeting on Monday night, the village council voted unanimously to keep the current village ordinance that prohibits marijuana dispensaries in the village limits.
“There was a petition request of a different ordinance,” said Tonja Brice village president. “The request is to reevaluate or revise that ordinance.”
The petition in question has gone to many communities, asking for ordinances to be changed to allow marijuana dispensaries. It can be re-petitioned and go on a ballot in a future election if that is what the organizers of the petition want to do.
“Looking at the state law, it says they can petition for the number, but doesn’t say anything else about any other types of regulations or zoning restrictions or anything else that is part of the ordinance they can petition for, just the number of establishments,” said Larry Hayden councilmember.
“If the majority of council is not in favor of the establishments, then I think our only option is to say we’re going to stay with our current ordinance. I don’t see it make sense wasting a lot of our time, doing a lot of research, drafting an ordinance if we’re not going to go through with it.”
If the petition ends up on a ballot, it would be decided by voters in the community if marijuana establishments are allowed.
“I’m willing to take a gamble on voting, because I don’t think they want it in this one square mile,” said councilmember Melanie Nivelt.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Brandon Substation Commander Lt. Greg Glover does not like the idea of a marijuana establishment in the village.
“The issue that I have with it here is, there are a lot of things this village needs,” said Glover. “They need restaurants, coffee shops, things that benefit everybody. Not a select few.”
Another issue that was brought up was infrastructure, as councilwoman Kay Green voiced her concern for too many people coming into the village if there was an establishment and causing traffic issues or putting too much wear on the roads.
“I just think before we do anything, we need more information,” she said.
Brice also stated that should the petition end up on a ballot and go to a community vote, the language of the ordinance would be the ballot language and would not be written by the village lawyer.
“My personal concern is having someone else write an ordinance for us instead of writing it ourselves,” she said. “We should make the decision, not someone outside our community.”