05-02-2019 Watervliet Township holds last Public Hearing on Medical Marijuana Ordinance; ponders am

BLOSSOM EXCHANGE… Tri-City royalty took part in the Blessing of the Blossoms Sunday afternoon, the start of Blossomtime Week. Pictured are (from the left) Miss Watervliet Hannah Yerington; Mr. Blossomtime and Mr. Nice Guy Sin’cere Taylor from the community of Coloma; Miss Coloma Samantha Scott; and Miss Hartford Brynn Duffy. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

Watervliet Township holds last Public Hearing on Medical Marijuana Ordinance;

ponders amount of facilities allowed and nearness to homes

By Annette Christie

The Watervliet Charter Township Board held a Saturday morning public hearing on the proposed ordinance for medical marijuana on April 27. With few in attendance, only one individual spoke on the subject.

Debra Barton said she came to the meeting because she saw in the paper that there had been little interest in the subject. She spoke about some personal experiences she had had with the subject and raised some questions and concerns she had about it. “I am a grandma and I have a concern about children’s access to it,” Barton said. She said she would much rather see additional entertainment options available for teenagers vs. a medical marijuana facility.

Watervliet Township Supervisor Dan Hutchins told Barton that medical marijuana facilities are highly controlled and that the only ones that can get in are those with the proper ID card. “It is a lot more regulated than what is perceived,” Hutchins said.

Trustee Joe Matthews commented that when an individual does get their card, the purchases are monitored by the state with regard to how much and how often you can get it.

Planning Commission member Deanna Heminger, who was present in the audience, commented that the Planning Commission did a lot of research including visiting a provisioning center. “There are 340 people with a Watervliet address that are traveling to Bangor. If there are that many people getting it, why not have one here,” Heminger said.

Following the public hearing portion of the meeting, the board did have some discussion on the subject which still has a couple of hurdles. At the last meeting, Hutchins made it clear that he would not support the ordinance if the distance from a residential zone was only 100 feet.

In addition, Hutchins said that one of the members on the board, after the last meeting, questioned the number of provisioning centers. The ordinance currently allows for four in the township.