The Northfield Township Board met Monday night and approved an ordinance and permitting process for marijuana establishments.

Voters statewide approved the recreational marijuana ballot proposal in 2018, with 64% of voters in Northfield Township voting in favor. The board had attempted to ban cannabis business, as many other municipalities have, but it failed on a 4-3 vote. A local citizen led group called Save Northfield collected enough signatures to get a Marijuana Business Ban on the November 5th ballot, but that also failed with roughly 56% of the vote against it.

There were some questions raised about the participation of board members in the ballot effort and Supervisor Marlene Chockley issued a memo to the board and members of the public following the election clarifying her position and involvement. Chockley stressed that she did not initiate the referendum and was not involved in the creation of petitions but did request one after they were created and collected three signatures, which she says is within her rights as a private citizen. The signatures were from Chockley, her husband and a friend. Chockley noted it’s no secret that she’s concerned about the effect of drug use in the community on children and her objections are not political – adding she will continue to rely on scientific data for information on marijuana, not those who stand to make money from its sale. Chockley said the referendum told the board that the majority of the community approves of marijuana establishments and they will now move forward cautiously to adopt an ordinance and permitting process. She told WHMI it is unfortunate that some residents and other members of the public find it acceptable to slander board members with whom they disagree. She said the board had no choice but to put the referendum on the ballot and she believed at the time, and still does, that it was important for the issue to be settled by the voters.

Chockley says the ordinance has a 500-foot buffer zone around schools as a drug-free zone and a 1,000 foot required distance from each establishment. Only smaller grow operations with less than 500 plants are allowed in the agricultural zoning. The permitting ordinance sets the numbers of each establishment and Chockley says there are three microbusinesses, three adult recreational retail establishments and three provisioning centers for medical marijuana. She says twelve growers will be allowed in total (6 medical and 6 adult recreational), three transporters, three safety compliance facilities and three processors. (JM)