Keego Harbor rejects marijuana ballot proposal

By: Mike Koury | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 7, 2019

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KEEGO HARBOR — Residents in Keego Harbor voted down a ballot question that aimed to regulate the sale of marijuana.

In the Nov. 5 election, voters soundly rejected the proposal that asked residents whether or not they wanted businesses that could sell marijuana in their town.

The voters decided to reject the idea, with 309 residents saying “no” over 163 “yes” votes. In total, 472 people voted on the question.

Of Keego Harbor’s 2,149 registered voters, 473 showed up to the city’s one precinct. This represented a 22.01% turnout for the small town, which the United States Census Bureau estimated had a population of 3,403 in 2018.

The ballot question read, in full, “An initiation of an ordinance to regulate the sale of marihuana in the City; to allow certain medical marihuana facilities and marihuana establishments to operate in the City pursuant to the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act; to provide for standards and procedures to permit and regulate such facilities; to provide for the imposition of permit application fees; to provide penalties; and to impose conditions for the operation of such facilities. Shall this proposal be adopted?”

The question of selling marijuana in Keego Harbor was a curious one, as the town’s City Council already had unanimously voted in August to prohibit recreational marijuana businesses from establishing.

In addition, the ballot ordinance’s language stated that a business couldn’t sell marijuana or display marijuana accessories within 1,500 feet of a day care, 1,000 feet of a school, 500 feet of a church or 350 feet of a park.

City Manager Jered Ottenwess previously called this issue “problematic” because, with these guidelines and where the town’s schools, churches and parks are located, there would have been no parcels in Keego Harbor where recreational marijuana businesses could have been allowed.

“We don’t think it’s actually enforceable,” he said previously. “Let’s say the ordinance passes and it goes into effect and an applicant shows up to open up a recreational shop. We wouldn’t be able to issue them a permit because they would be prohibited under this section of the ordinance based on their location relative to other uses.”