By Andrew Swift
Recently I’ve been asked why the city council has decided to opt-out of the recently passed recreational marijuana bill. I can’t speak for the rest of the council on their decision to opt-out, but I can say it was a unanimous vote.
What this option is, is the City of Riverview has “opted-out” of having the commercial sale of recreational marijuana within the city borders.
I was recently asked why the residents didn’t vote on it. It is a council responsibility to make that decision. If residents want to change that, there are two options available. The first would be to convince council members to change their minds or petition to place the “opt-in” option on the ballot.
Here are some of the neighboring communities that have joined Riverview in opting out. They are Allen Park, Canton Township, Dearborn, Flat Rock, Sumpter Township, Van Buren Township, Woodhaven and Wyandotte.
And here is some of the information I used to make my decision as it relates to recreational marijuana and not medical marijuana:
It is totally unclear what revenues municipalities will receive. I am focused on the social and legal aspects of the new law.
Proposal 1 stipulates that tax revenues are first to be spent on implementation and enforcement of commercial sales. For two years, the next $20 million would go towards researching the use of marijuana in treating veterans and preventing veteran suicide.
The unspent balance is to be spent as follows, 15 percent to municipalities where a marijuana retail store is located, 15 percent to counties where a marijuana retail store is located, 35 percent to K-12 education and 35 percent to the Michigan Transportation Fund.
Even if all the planning and preparation of the legal parts to this law go extremely well, there will be no retail outlets for at least a year or more. My opinion is that the city of Riverview would only receive pennies on the millions the state is expected to bring in.
In a recent interview on WJR, Mr. Robert Troyer, former U.S. Attorney for the state of Colorado was asked what Colorado experienced and what Michigan should expect in the coming years.
The first thing he noted was that since being legalized in Colorado, there has been a 151 percent increase in marijuana related fatalities. The second is that employers are struggling with enforcing their “drug use” policies. Some employers stopped testing for marijuana because so many employees are failing their test. This is a problem especially if the employer is a trucking company, factory, teachers, or anyone who has contact with the public that requires them to drive or operate machinery.
Another item he pointed out is that insurance rates have increased for businesses due to the potential risks of having employees on a controlled substance.
The attorney general pointed out the environmental impact by recreational growers. Growing marijuana requires a large amount of electricity, water, and pesticides to have a healthy plant. A mature plant can consume three liters of water a day. It is estimated that 5 percent of Colorado’s electricity’s use is used to grow marijuana.
The last few statistics dealt with the normalization of marijuana use.
Adolescents have come to consider the use of marijuana as normal. After all, it must be OK because it is legal. Along with that, emergency room visits by young people has increased measurably. They’ve also found a decrease in school performance and attendance.
I encourage you to do your own homework on this issue. Don’t rely just on what I say. Then maybe you will understand why someone in my capacity would not be a supporter of the legalization of recreational marijuana.
If there is something concerning you that you’d like me to write about please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and have a great April.