Cannabis gains support in Sanford on Monday

Sue LaBonville is considering a boutique-style cannabis micro-business in Sanford, and Monday night she found she has a lot of support.

Almost 30 people attended the regular village meeting on Monday at Jerome Town Hall and almost all of them said something about the village choosing to donate cannabis. Only one of the residents to speak had cast it in a negative light.

Steve Zimmerman cited reports from two other states which mentioned that allowing cannabis stores would result in an oppressed neighborhood, a neighborhood plagued by theft, loitering and the loss of other businesses. He also reminded the council that while marijuana is legal in Michigan, it is not federally.


Most of the comments were in favor of cannabis.

Resident Willy Caven does not use cannabis, but his daughter with cancer does.

“I don’t think cannabis is bad,” Caven said. “I think it’s a blessing.”

Attorney Matt Kuschel of the village law firm Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes, attended the meeting. He gave directions on what the village should do if it decides to allow cannabis in the municipality. He said there are some things the village should do if it approves it, like setting store criteria, how many they would allow and changing the zoning.

LaBonville offers a microenterprise. According to the Michigan Regulatory Agency, a microenterprise license allows the licensee to grow up to 150 marijuana plants, process them on site, and sell products directly to the recreational marijuana consumer.

Currently, the closest places offering cannabis are Bay City and Loomis. At Monday’s meeting, many people noted that these municipalities are reaping the benefits of having cannabis stores and making a profit. When people go there for pot, they can spend money on shopping and eating out.

Duane Dalrymple, a truck driver from Homer Township, did not believe in cannabis. After injuring his hip and having part of his leg severed, he found himself on a daily regimen of 15 drugs – 21 tablets and half a gallon of vodka per week. It was on the encouragement of his epileptic son that Dalrymple tried cannabis.

Now he can’t say enough good things about it.

“I am no longer taking medication,” said Dalrymple. “I live, I don’t just exist, and it’s because of cannabis.”

Lee Welch, of Sanford, attended his father’s reunion, who was hit by a drunk driver who left his father on 32 drugs and in constant pain. He started using cannabis.

“A dispensary would be a good thing to bring to Sanford,” Welch said. “I see a huge advantage. “

Welch’s father, Tom, also addressed the council on Monday, saying cannabis has replaced all but three of his medications, from muscle relaxers to Parkinson’s pills.

“Quitting drugs is good,” said Tom Welch, noting that if cannabis is a drug, it is not the onslaught of other drugs.

Bob Anderson fully supports a microenterprise.

“It helped me quit drinking,” Anderson said, noting that he had been sober for five years. “It will improve everyone’s life by 10.”

Steve Scott, from Midland, who considers himself an expert on cannabis, said he was arrested for possession and used to beat testicular cancer. Scott would like to see a cannabis business in Sanford.

“Jesus saves, cannabis heals,” he said. “It gave me an appetite and made me happier.”

JoEllen Billingsley noted that people are already using cannabis in Sanford and the village does not collect the income.

“I’m really tired of driving all the way to Bay City,” Billingsley said, making the crowd laugh.

In November, LaBonville encouraged the village to agree to allow cannabis. She was convinced it would increase the village’s income with taxes on cannabis sales and the influx of pedestrians to other businesses.

The Michigan Cannabis Manufactures Association reports that there was $ 3.2 billion in cannabis sales in the state in 2020.

The Anderson Economic Group conducted a study sponsored by the MCMA, which found that one in five Michiganders reported using cannabis in the past year, resulting in legal sales of $ 1 billion in 2020; the regulated cannabis industry generated $ 169 million in tax revenue and fees in 2020; and about 70% of transactions in the Michigan cannabis market take place outside of retail stores.

Sanford Village President Dolores Porte suggested that council visit some micro-businesses to see what they look like. The council hopes to decide soon whether or not to allow cannabis in the village. A decision could be made as early as next month. The council meets again at 7 p.m. on January 10 at the town hall of the township of Jérôme.


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