NILES, Mich. — Southwest Michigan will soon see a growing number of state-regulated medical marijuana businesses.
The Niles City Council voted on Monday in favor of a resolution stating the intention to adopt three medical marijuana laws passed by state legislators last year. The city of Buchanan voted in favor of a similar proposal.
The types, quantity and location of businesses will be discussed at the city plan commission meeting April 11.
Supporters of the marijuana dispensaries hope the legalization will mean a local economy boost, more jobs and easier access for people with health problems.
About 200 people showed up to a public forum Niles City Administrator Ric Huff held in February. Of those who voted in the informal poll, over 80 percent supported permitting dispensaries.
“I think there are some genuine needs,” Councilman John DiCostanzo said. “I think, most of all, this is an opportunity to take this substance, which has been a black-market substance for a long time, and bring it out into the open.”
But Niles police chief James Millin said the businesses could invite theft and that medical marijuana cards are relatively easy to obtain.
“When this law passed, I think a lot of people thought that it was going to be for those terminally ill patients, and I think that’s what most people passed it on was that belief,” Millin said.
Michigan voters approved marijuana use in 2008 for some chronic medical conditions.
Huff said shop owners could open immediately in Niles after obtaining their licenses, which are expected to be issued around December.
Information from: South Bend Tribune