A few months ago, Marquette residents turned to the polls to decide the fate of Proposal One, or the legalization of recreational marijuana use. The results: 64.5 percent of the vote in the City of Marquette supported the move.
By design of the legislation, individual municipalities hold the power to decide whether they will allow establishments selling recreational marijuana within their region or not.
On Feb. 25, the Marquette City Commission is holding a public hearing to debate whether to allow commercial sale of marijuana, or opt out and wait for more comprehensive state regulations to be developed.
At a work session last month, city officials, including City Manager Mike Angeli, seem to be leaning toward opting out. Such a decision would be a huge missed opportunity for the city, as well as a betrayal of resident interests.
With the passage of the legislation, a massive market has become available, offering an opportunity for a huge industry to develop. Marquette is a hub for economic development and innovation. Thanks to efforts from groups like [email protected] and InventUP, residents have great resources to start and develop their own businesses. With the market demand for recreational marijuana, there is an opportunity for locals to open their own businesses, offering locally-grown products to Marquette.
Additionally, Northern’s medicinal plant chemistry program attracts a large number of students to the area. Allowing the establishment of marijuana businesses offers these students job opportunity in Marquette, and may allow them to remain here after they graduate.
Growing the economy in the U.P. has always been a focus of local politicians and a concern for residents. The new legislation provides a significant opportunity to stimulate the local economy.
Developing guidelines and regulations to ensure the proper handling of the market may be challenging, but it shouldn’t be a barrier to Marquette residents getting what they voted for. We the people already spoke in the ballot box.