State Senator: Opting Out Of Recreational Marijuana Strengthens Black Market

State Senator Jeff Irwin wants local governments to take another look at recreational marijuana busineses. The Ann Arbor Democrat says the communities voting to opt out of the system permanently are creating more of a problem in their areas.

“The goal is to get these transactions and these sales and this growing out of the neighborhoods and into a regulated and reasonable space,” said Irwin. “The communities who continue to say ‘no’ are basically pushing this activity into the neighborhoods, and I think that’s a mistake.”

Irwin says the refusals to allow the businesses is “really emboldening and empowering the black market in their community. They’re not taking advantage of the opportunities to redirect their police resources toward fighting crime.”

The state will soon grant the approval of the first recreational marijuana businesses. Buchanan and Niles are both in, but that’s it for southwest Michigan. South Haven voters last week permanently opted the city out of allowing those companies to set up, while Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are likely to revisit the issue in 2020 once the state has all the regulations in place. One big issue for St. Joseph city commissioners is the federal law preventing legal marijuana businesses from using banks and credit unions and having to be a cash-only business.