The township council of the small township of Portage, a suburb of Kalamazoo, MI., passed an ordinance on May 26 regulating the sale of adult-use marijuana.
A virtual council meeting produced a 6-1 vote to amend the ordinance that will allow medical marijuana provisioning centers to expand into recreational use.
What this now means is growers, processing centers, safety compliance facilities, secure transporters, retailers and microbusineses can do business in Portage.
The changes will take place 15 days after the amended ordinance is published, now expected to take place on June 2. The application will be available at www.portagemi.gov/641.
The lone dissenting vote was council member Terry Urban who told the council he was concerned that allowing adult-use marijuana will make it more accessible and more likely to fall into the wrong hands. He raised the point of telling his 13-year-old daughter he approved of marijuana use.
But Kevin Weyenberg, co-owner and co-founder of Lake Effect, told the council during the public comment period that he will continue to fight against black market sales, offer an educational tool for those new to cannabis. He also said legal adult-use cannabis will open a new sector of the economy and generate additional tax revenues. Some 10 percent of the excise tax will go to the city.
Weyenberg estimated from 100 to 300 jobs will be created over the next year in this new business sector.
Lake Effect has been operating as a medical provisioning center since March 2019. Weyenberg said he expects his store will add recreational marijuana by August.
Kalamazoo Township was the first municipality in the metro area to opt-in to recreational cannabis sales on Jan. 27. Since then two other stories have opened in the township – Kind and Herbology.
The Kalamazoo City Commission voted to opt-in for recreational sales on May 18. That new ordinance became effective May 28.