Sanford, MI officials, attorney meet in closed session about marijuana

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Sanford Village officials met with Village attorney Matt Kuschel Friday morning via Zoom at the Jerome Township Hall to iron out the next step in the possibility of opting into allowing marijuana businesses in Sanford.

The beginning of the meeting was open for public comment. Sanford resident Robert McManus attended but said he didn’t have a comment; he just came for information.

Sanford Village President Dolores Porte did receive a late letter from former council member Marlene Glinski, who thanked the council for considering the issue. She said providing marijuana would increase the village’s tax base and provide additional revenue.

Porte said the closed session was for the purpose of getting advice on the appropriate regulation of marijuana and determining the village’s next step. The session would also cover zoning changes.

There were comments on social media claiming the meeting wasn’t posted per the Michigan Open Meetings Act, which requires that notice of a special meeting be posted 18 hours before it takes place. The meeting was properly posted at least 21 hours prior both at Jerome Township Hall and on the village’s Facebook page.

Kuschel, of the village’s law firm Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes, also attended the Dec. 13 council meeting, where residents filled the board room, most of them supporting the village to move forward with opting in.

The issue began when resident Sue LaBonville proposed opening a microbusiness. According to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, a microbusiness license allows the licensee to grow up to 150 marijuana plants, process them on-site, and sell products directly to the recreational marijuana consumer. She encouraged the village to opt in to allowing marijuana, which sparked the discussions.

Michigan marijuana sales produced $135,039,178 for December in recreational sales and $32,928,546 in medical marijuana sales, according to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency. For all of 2021, Michigan marijuana sales were $1,311,951,737 for recreational/adult use, and medical marijuana sales were $481,225,540. It wasn’t clear what the state tax revenue was on these amounts.

The council is expected to discuss the matter further at the next council meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the Jerome Township Hall.

Tereasa Nims