Recreational marijuana has been legalized in Michigan, but the debate surrounding its use is still far from over.
Despite the recent passage of Proposal 1, which allows individuals aged 21 and older to possess and use marijuana, several cities are choosing to opt out.
According to WZZM 13 News, municipalities can ban the use of marijuana in public spaces and ban facilities where it can be recreationally purchased. However, this process of opting out does not prohibit it use on private property.
“I think it should be statewide, so I think they shouldn’t be able to kind of delegate their own rules by county,” Ferris welding engineering sophomore Ethan Hart said. “I feel like it just causes more difculties or more confusion with the laws.”
It is currently unclear whether or not the city of Big Rapids will vote to opt out, but Hart said that he would disagree with the decision to do so.
“Personally, I don’t really agree with it. It’s a college town, so you’re going to have it either way, so you might as well make it legal and make as much money as you can off it for the state,” Hart said.
Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Hudsonville are among the cities who have already decided to opt out.
“They should be able to. It’s all about choice. You can’t make somebody accept something,” Ferris business administration sophomore Keyera Allen said. “People don’t like change.”
According to MLive, the new Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Recreational Marijuana Act prevents the opening of any recreational marijuana business within 1,000 feet of a school.
This poses a problem for individuals hoping to purchase recreational marijuana in some communities, such as the town of Essexville in eastern Michigan. In Essexville, you are never more than 1,000 feet from a school. Therefore, the community is legally unable to have recreational marijuana businesses, and the city council voted to opt out regardless.
Other cities, such as Mount Pleasant, have taken a completely hands-off approach for now. According to the Morning Sun, the city is waiting for the state to create its own regulations and will then decide whether or not to opt out.
Ferris pre-med freshman Antavia Hagger said cities shouldn’t be able to opt out unless recreational use leads to adverse effects, such as an increase in car accidents.
“It depends over a period of time, like the effects that it has. If everything is fine, then I don’t think Big Rapids should be able to opt out just because,” Hagger said. “I don’t think just for no reason they should opt out because they think it’s bad.”
Michigan cannabis activists Rick Thompson and Jamie Lowell visited Ferris Wednesday, Nov. 28, for a “Marijuana is Legal — What Now?” discussion to explain more about the legalization of marijuana.
While it may be legal statewide, Ferris students should be mindful of university policy, which prevents the use and possession of marijuana on campus even if Big Rapids does not opt out.
“Remember that all laws don’t necessarily apply to all citizens equally, and unfortunately as college students you have a whole different set of rules that you have to be governed by that don’t necessarily work in conjunction with Prop 1, which means that on campus your behavior is regulated by campus rules, not necessarily the legalization policy,” Thompson said.