A month after saying no to recreational marijuana, members of Colon Village Council showed a higher tolerance for cannabis as a medicinal drug.
By a 5-2 vote Tuesday, the council approved a resolution in support of creating an ordinance to allow marijuana production and distribution for medical purposes within the village.
More than a dozen people addressed the council during public comment regarding the matter. The majority said they are in favor of the measure, citing benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of conditions that include cancer, glaucoma, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms and epilepsy.
Brandon Baker, who is seeking approval to open marijuana businesses in Colon, owns two vacant buildings in the village. Lifelong Colon resident BJ Mallen said he is confident Baker is someone who will run the business in a proper, legal manner. He also said having a local location for the sale of medical marijuana will prevent residents from having to travel to Portage, for example, to secure their prescription.
“These people need places to go,” Mallen said. “We have a good person here who wants to do it the right way … don’t deny people who want to do it the right way because the only thing that does is guarantee people will keep doing it the wrong way, and that’s not what we want in Colon.”
Prior to the decision, council member Tom Whitford called the votes last month and again Tuesday “agonizing.” He said he planned to vote for the resolution because he has friends and relatives whose pain from various ailments could have been eased with the benefit of medicinal marijuana.
Whitford said he could not vote against the resolution.
“If we have the opportunity, which this board does, to help someone in need, then we should do it,” he said. “I’m voting yes because I think it’s the right thing to do, if we can have some help for these people.”
Council member Marilyn McManus and council chair Ruth Ann Kuhlmann cast dissenting votes.
After the meeting, Baker said he’d be surprised if it takes the council more than a month or two to create an ordinance.
Baker said the next step after an ordinance is approved is a public hearing, followed by the council’s vote on whether to adopt the ordinance.
“They can copy and paste an ordinance from another municipality that has already opted in, so I would think this would move relatively quickly,” Baker said, adding that the forthcoming process for him personally will include…