Stevensville Marijuana issue to be decided by voters in May election
Residents of Stevensville will get to decide whether or not marijuana retail businesses are allowed in the village.
After a successful petition and loud opposition by anti-pot business group “Friends of Stevensville,” the village board of trustees Wednesday approved language for the issue to be put on the May election ballot.
The board also tabled a resolution to move forward with a marijuana retailer application period until after the vote.
“I think that’s the right thing to do,” said Trustee Jessica Patterson. “It’s not something that has to be done before the election.”
In November 2022, the village voted 4-1 to approve ordinances allowing up to two recreational cannabis dispensaries. The stated reason for the decision was to generate revenue for its deteriorating roads.
On Wednesday, Village Manager Kacey Dominguez gave a presentation showing why and how they came to that decision. Ultimately, she said, the village would have to either allow these marijuana businesses for state tax revenue they generate, or enact a roads millage which would give the village the highest millage rate in Berrien County.
Village President Pro-tem Chris Mason explained made sure those in attendance knew the consequences of voting to ban marijuana businesses.
“I just hope people are either ready to see roads deteriorate, or we have to put a millage on the ballot,” said Mason, adding the village worked hard to ensure there would only be two businesses allowed. “We are truly trying to do what’s best for the community. We’re not trying to change the world here. We’re trying to insulate the community and protect ourselves.”
Village President David Wenger echoed those thoughts, and directed comments toward the anti-pot business group.
“I just hope that the friends of Stevensville group will be supporters of us if the initiative is passed,” Wenger said. “They’ve said they didn’t mind additional taxes. They can help us explain … why the community should consider then a millage if we don’t have the marijuana ordinance to fall back on.”
Also Wednesday, the board tabled a resolution to place a road millage of 2.7025 mills on the May ballot after the resolution did not receive support after the motion was made.
Officials said the village will have to pay $5,000 to put the item on the May ballot.