The Oxford Village Council, Manager, Attorney, Police Chief, Clerk/Treasurer, and Department heads have diligently spent a long time, a year and a half, working on an ordinance to grant marijuana-business permits for adult-recreation use. It is my hope that the Council will see fit to disallow the marijuana industry in our small, safe, come-hither Village, and in Oxford as a whole.
As more facts about lawsuits appear, it is evident that local governments and residents will pay, while the pot businesses play, with the potential of earning millions. For instance, lawsuits filed by large and lucrative pro-marijuana concerns against municipalities can now prevent potential Oxford-owned marijuana businesses to operate. In other words, the welcome wagon is there for outsiders on the East or West Coasts but numbers of local pot businesses can be limited. See, what I mean in Paul Egan’s column on March 5 in the Detroit Free Press as an example of legal pitfalls plaguing localities who contract with the marijuana industry. The article states, “Deals, Conflicts of Interest, Cloud municipal marijuana licensing…as local officials award marijuana business licenses worth millions of dollars to those fortunate enough to receive them…” Our own legal counsel in Oxford Village cautions our Council of the numerous lawsuits surrounding the granting of business licenses.
Even the Girl Scouts in Oakland County were involved in a cookie-selling battle with a Walled Lake dispensary where young entrepreneurs had to suspend sales (Detroit News article of March 5 by Nour Rahal)! Interpolating this incident to a more common and larger level, we see the beginning of the “let’s make a deal” process where the pot businesses give back to the damaged community (the Scouts, or a town) to garnish goodwill and make reparation.
In towns, deal-making goes like this: the Village tax collections from the pot industry are too low (by State formula) to offset costs of rising Police enforcement, Legal/Courts, Fire & DPW (regulating pot retailers, controlling cash-based crime, filling paperwork, attending court hearings, responding to/cleaning up accidents, etc), costs of healthcare needs of people injured by pot products if taken (including school-age kids getting second-hand access who suffer inability to focus, depression, alienation or worse) and cost of damage to the town’s reputation over lawsuits, possible Village tax increases due to larger budget demands, etc). To offset bad press and ingratiate the public, the marijuana businesses emphasize their professional and “craft” nature, sponsor fundraisers, give back to the community (ie, buy Girl Scout cookies) after the damage is done.
Further, the selection process, choosing marijuana-business winners and losers, is a high-stakes endeavor. Personally, I like our Village Council, elected and appointed leaders; but I fear for them when moneyed interests come to town ready to make deals, cloud processes, and create conflicts of interest. Let us opt out of this vicious circle, with unforeseen repercussions; Council, vote NO on the adult-use marijuana business-permitting ordinance.
Sincerely, Evelyn Archer Piotrowski, Oxford Village