Emotions ran high for some at the Monday, July 22 Saginaw City Council meeting.
During the public input portion of the meeting, seven different residents wanted to discuss marijuana coming to the community.
The first six presenters were pro-marijuana and cited local business profit potential as a reason to jump on the program as soon as possible. The final speaker, Saleem Mannan, was against the idea of the drug even being considered. His emotional presentation covered how drugs have affected cities like Detroit and Flint, and how the opioid crisis is affecting people all over the country.
Council did eventually move on to other matters, but during the wrap up of the meeting they made the unscheduled decision to take action on the marijuana topic. Eight out of nine council members took a vote on what to do with the current recreational marijuana moratorium. Councilwoman Annie Boensch was absent for this week’s meeting.
After a 5-3 vote the city plans to hold off on implementing recreational pot retail business and licensing processes for another 12 months while it looks at how other cities are affected by the drug.
Councilman Bill Ostash suggested after that vote, that if council wants to wait on recreational-marijuana steps should be planned to advance medical-marijuana. He said the proposal was made because the implementation of medical marijuana facilities in the area could give a better outline for the city’s recreational ordinances, similar to how Bay City is establishing their rules.
Mayor Kloc’s ‘NO’ vote on the medical proposal led to a 4-4 tie, resulting in its defeat.
Councilman Ostash and the advocates for marijuana who spoke during public input continued talks outside city hall after the meeting to get Mayor Kloc’s reasoning.
Kloc said his vote was made because he did not want to see the “marijuana boom” die off leading to a surplus of failed shops, and he wanted any profit made to stay in the City of Saginaw instead of leaving the state to medical providers.