ALPENA — Alpena Township opted out of Proposal 1, after it passed in Michigan in 2018, and hasn’t allowed the sale of recreational marijuana within its boundaries.
That could all change, as the township is beginning to explore the financial benefits of allowing the legal sale of the drug.
Township Supervisor Nathan Skibbe said a township planning commission workshop, held on Monday, is a first step.
He said it is one step of several in a process that may, or may not, allow marijuana businesses in the township.
“We want to see what it would look like and what would we have to do to accomplish it,” Skibbe said. “Right now we are just starting the discussion, but this is a discussion many municipalities are having.”
Denise Cline, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments deputy director and chief planner, offered her assistance in helping formulate a plan regarding adult-use marijuana, if one is needed.
Despite the benefits it could have on local tax revenues, few municipalities in the area allow the sale of adult-use marijuana.
Each municipality that has a marijuana business receives needed revenue, as does the county the business is located in.
Rogers Township, in Presque Isle County, received $28,001 in tax revenue last year for allowing Meds Cafe to operate. Presque Isle County got $56,002 last year for the two shops open there.
Sticky Bush Farms operates in Onaway, and the municipality received $28,001.
Consume Cannabis is licensed to sell in Harrisville, but the city hasn’t received any tax revenue yet because the store has only been open a few months.
Skibbe said the township is at the point financially where it needs to consider anything that can bolster its bottom-line. He said the township shied away from medical and recreational marijuana previously, but now the option needs to be researched and considered.
“The time has come for this to explore any and all possible sources of revenue,” Skibbe said. “I would rather do that, than to move toward any new or higher taxes.”
Alpena is expected to get a pair of medical marijuana shops, Green Buddha and Lume Cannabis Company, but so far construction on the facilities has yet to commence.
Both Green Buddha and Lume have released renderings of what the facilities could look like.
Skibbe said it is possible the planning commission will make a recommendation to the board of trustees on which way to move forward with marijuana, but that move isn’t imminent.