Township opts out of four of five marijuana businesses

FLINT TWP. — The Flint Township Board of Trustees Monday opted out of allowing four out of five types of medical marijuana businesses in the township.

“I don’t know why everyone is so afraid,” Trustee Barb Vert said before the vote. “It’s already around. I think people have the wrong perception. They think it’s people walking around smoking joints.”

Supervisor Karyn Miller said it has been a difficult decision for the board.

“We’ve been dealing with this for a long time,” she said. “The township voted, and all the precincts voted for having medical and recreational marijuana.”

The trustees voted separately on each of the five types of businesses. For growing, processing, transporting and provisioning businesses, the votes were identical with trustees Tom Klee and Carol Pfaff-Dahl, City Clerk Kathy Funk and Treasurer Lisa R. Anderson voting in favor of opting out, and Miller and Vert voting against opting out. Trustee Frank Kasle was absent from the meeting.

But when it came to testing facilities, there appeared to be some hesitation and confusion. Klee expressed uncertainty about opting out on testing centers and asked if the board could get more information on what the testing centers do and come back to that issue at a later time.

After Sept. 15, the state will require all marijuana products sold at provisioning centers to be tested at a licensed lab. The testing determines how potent the product is and how much THC or CBD the product contains, with the results printed on the package. Testing also is intended to make sure the product is free of contaminants, most pesticides, mold, fungus, heavy metals and bacteria that could harm sick patients, such as E. coli and salmonella.

Economic Enhancement Director Tracey Tucker said the testing labs look just like any other type of lab.

The confusion continued when the board voted on the testing centers. The first vote was to opt out, which failed in a tie vote with Klee, Miller and Vert voting no and Funk, Anderson and Pfaff-Dahl voting yes. Next they voted on opting in for testing facilities, which again failed in a tie with the votes reversed. Tucker said at the meeting the end result was the board opted out of allowing testing centers as well. But on Tuesday, Miller said the board would have to vote again on testing centers because the two tie votes essentially gave no answer on testing centers.

Martin Sema, owner of Hyatt Labs, a growing and processing facility in Farmington Hills, spoke at a public hearing on the medical marijuana issue July 24 and attended Monday’s trustee’s meeting as well. Sema owns a building in Flint Township that has been vacant for 15 years, and he hoped to expand his business there. He was visibly disappointed with the outcome of the voting.

“They had an opportunity to opt in and bring in new business, but they backed out,” he said. “They’re right where they were. I don’t think they have enough facts. They don’t have any information. They just have negative feelings against it.”