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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Harry Stine
Harry Stine
Opinion Editor

In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

LEAVE NO TRACE — Heather Vivian from Respect Marquette County educates on the impacts of outdoor recreation as part of the organizations mission of protecting natural resources.
Leave No Trace 101 workshop promotes protecting natural resources
Benjamin BuresDecember 1, 2023

Commission discusses weed sellers in MQT

SET TO SELL—Randy Artibee prepares to step to the podium during public comment at the Marquette City Commission meeting. Akasha Khalsa/NW

In the city’s march forward to allow marijuana vendors by the end of the year, proposed limits on the numbers and types of sellers were removed altogether by the Marquette City Commission in a 4-to-3 vote on Monday, due to a motion made by City Commissioner Jenna Smith. 

“I think [having marijuana sellers in Marquette] is something that the residents of Marquette have shown us they want, because 62% of voters voted for recreational marijuana,” Smith said. “So maybe not all of those voters are gonna smoke personally, but I think that most people are willing to accept the fact that people are going to do it recreationally and I think it’s up to us to open it up to businesses and provide folks a safe place to purchase regulated marijuana.”

It will be a while before the community will see these changes. Smith provided an anticipated timeline for these developments. A first reading of the ordinance will take place on Sept. 30, and a second on Oct. 15. A public hearing on the matter is expected to be scheduled for the commission meeting on Dec. 16, with a proposed effective date of Dec. 26.

Smith said that once the ordinance goes into effect, those interested in selling marijuana would have to apply to the state of Michigan, and then with the city.

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“We haven’t set the timeline for when that would happen after Dec. 26, but I’ve heard 30 days thrown around a lot tonight,” Smith said. “It’s gonna be a lot of work for the people who do want to apply, so it may not happen very quickly, not because we’re going to put a timeline on that, but just because there’s going to be a lot of hoops to jump through.”

City Commissioner Jenn Hill said the marijuana issue comes down to zoning right now, and the planning committee must make recommendations for zoning going forward. 

The Women’s Center, while not arguing against the legality of the proposed ordinance, came to the commission meeting very concerned about the possible locations of marijuana venders in Marquette. They worry that their abused or traumatized clients, who could have been subjected to the hardships of substance abuse and may have turned to mind-altering substances themselves in the past, may not want the possibly triggering effect that a nearby marijuana storefront may pose. The Women’s Center requested that a buffer zone be placed around their building and other similar locations.

The possibility of such buffer zones was thrown around in relation to protecting churches and religious establishments as well.

Buffer zones would currently restrict marijuana vendors from existing within a 500-foot radius from K-12 schools in Marquette, and zoning issues would further limit potential vendors from moving into residential areas. 

At the beginning of the meeting, proposed limits on the types of establishments were presented, including Marijuana Retailers (5-10 limit), Marijuana Microbusinesses (limit of 5) and Temporary Marijua Events (limited to 0 or 1 event/year as a trial).

Superior’s Finest Organics, a company represented at the meeting by Randy Artibee, was pleased with this resolution and is looking to open up in Marquette when its legality within the city is assured.

“I think [we] would do a lot of good for the Upper Peninsula people,” Artibee said. “This is my hometown. I was raised in the area and so has the team I put together. The way that we’re handling this is good for the environment, it’s good for the air and we could set a whole new standard. We have a plan, we have an engineer drawing up the building; it’s just a matter of getting [it] approved now. We’re hoping to do it somewhere closer to campus, maybe on Third Street.”

Hill said that NMU is in a difficult spot, having many people on campus who are not over 21. She expects the issue to be handled on campus in a manner very similar to alcohol, at least in the case of edibles. In the case of smoking marijuana, it will be handled differently because of the possibility of exposing other students to second-hand smoke.

“I’m sure we’re gonna opt in, in some way,” Hill said. “I’ll be interested in what the planning committee does going forward.”

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