EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — While recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Michigan, local municipalities still have to "opt-in" to allow its sale. In Muskegon County’s Egelston Township, the option is up to the voters on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.
After a signature drive, the ballot proposal facing voters is simple. Should the township adopt an ordinance to allow two stores that sell marijuana and two marijuana growing-and-processing facilities? Yes or No?
“You can go down the street and buy adult-use marijuana and bring it to Egelston Township and smoke it there, but the township is not going to receive any tax incentives from that,” says Narmin Jarrous.
Jarrous is the chief development officer of Exclusive Brands, an Ann Arbor-based company that opened a medical marijuana dispensary on Apple Avenue in Egelston in May. They hope to soon be allowed to sell to all adults and are hoping voters say yes.
“We're really encouraging voters for a lot of reasons. Number one is obviously to increase access to safe, clean-tested marijuana. And number two is to make sure that your township is receiving the really great tax benefits that come along with adult-use marijuana sales,” Jarrous said.
Some nearby communities have already benefited from that legal weed tax revenue.
In the first year of legal sales (fiscal year 2020), the city of Muskegon took in $112,000. Muskegon Township meanwhile took in $28,000 from just one licensed business. Jarrous anticipates those numbers will increase year over year.
“We continue to see adult-use sales increase; we hope to see that revenue sharing increase as well. And it's really just kind of a bummer for the municipalities that aren't on board. Because we know that doesn't prevent your citizens from using marijuana. You're just preventing them from buying it legally in your township and you receiving the tax incentives for it,” Jarrous added.
“People, I think, really want this in their townships. I’m hoping that on Aug. 3, they'll make that known.”