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Traverse City commission votes on marijuana provisioning centers

Traverse City commissions listened to several members of the public before voting on medical and recreational provisioning centers on Monday night.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Traverse City commission voted on medical and recreational marijuana issues Monday, and not before lots of input from those in attendance.

About half of the crowd inside the Traverse City Governmental Center board room offered their varying opinions on whether they want to see medical or recreational marijuana provisioning centers in their city.

"I never had any problem finding a pharmacy to fill my prescriptions," said one man. "I didn't have much trouble having doctors write them for me. The fact that we want to turn around and offer a healthy alternative, but you want to put a restrictive number on it just doesn't make sense to me."

"Despite the state vote, we do have a choice in the matter," said another. "The choice comes now for downtown Traverse City to opt out. Not opt in."

Traverse City mayor Jim Carruthers even spoke about his personal visit to a downstate medical provisioning center.

"Ann Arbor doesn't have a problem with this," Carruthers said. "This one provisioning center on the edge of town in a residential neighborhood. I asked, 'What does the neighborhood feel about this? Have you had any complaints?' They looked at me and said, 'It's the neighborhood that's walking to our provisioning center to get their medicine.'"

Eventually, city commissioners voted to approve a maximum of 13 medical marijuana provisioning centers in Traverse City.

Those centers can go anywhere except for a district that includes Front Street in the city's downtown.

There will be a lottery in May to decide who gets to own and operate those centers.

The city commission also voted prohibit recreational marijuana facilities, and wait until the state establishes more regulation.

"The way that it works in Michigan for recreational marijuana is it automatically approved in every jurisdiction unless that jurisdiction opts out," said Traverse City Clerk Benjamin Marentette. "Which is why its important for us to opt out at this time, so we can know what the rules are what things need to be taken into consideration."

So no recreational marijuana centers will open in Traverse City for the time being, but medical marijuana provisioning centers could pop up in the city limits as soon as the summer of 2019.

The amendments passed at Monday's meeting will go into effect on December 13th.

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