Rochester voters rejected cannabis proposals Nov. 7.

Rochester voters rejected cannabis proposals Nov. 7.

File photo by Mary Beth Almond

Voters reject open stores ordinance, cannabis licensing charter amendment, elect four to Rochester City Council

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 8, 2023


ROCHESTER — On Nov. 7, Rochester voters rejected two ballot proposals relating to the sale of cannabis in the city.

The first proposal asked voters if an ordinance should be passed to allow three adult-use cannabis retail establishments to operate within the city of Rochester, which failed with a majority of 4,129 votes against the measure to 498 votes in favor.

The second proposal asked voters if a cannabis licensing charter amendment should be passed to establish an application process, selection criteria, licenses, fees and regulations for three adult-use retail cannabis establishments in the city. That proposal also failed, with 4,039 votes against to 583 in favor.

Rochester Mayor Stuart Bikson said the voters of Rochester decisively voted down having marijuana dispensaries in downtown Rochester.  

“This is a stunning rejection of outside business interests trying to control the future for Rochester. The great people of Rochester will continue to decide what is best for Rochester. The people of Rochester spoke loud and clear that we want to decide our own futures. This is a great example of the people and their elected officials deciding the future of Rochester. I want to thank the people of Rochester who voted down this proposal and the hundreds of volunteers who worked to inform the public and get out the vote. Rochester is a great city and I am proud of our citizens uniting behind a common cause to keep Rochester in the hands of the people and not in the hands of big, outside businesses,” he said in an email. 

In the Rochester City Council race, voters re-elected incumbents Marilyn Trent and Douglas Gould, along with newcomers Debbie Jones and J. Christian Hauser to four-year terms.

According to unofficial results from the Oakland County Elections Division, Trent led the field with 2,492 votes, followed by Gould with 2,350 votes, Jones with 2,275 and Hauser with 2,120, outpacing incumbent Ann Peterson with 2,083 votes and newcomer David Berletich with 1,267 votes.

The council meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at City Hall, and members earn $55 per meeting.

For more information about Oakland County elections, visit