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Meridian Township voters narrowly reject ban on recreational marijuana businesses: Aug. 2022 results

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Meridian voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have banned all types of recreational cannabis businesses from the township, unofficial results show.

A narrow majority of voters said no to the proposal, according to results posted early Wednesday by the Ingham County Clerk's Office. As of just after 3 a.m., the tally showed 6,159 voters against the proposal, a difference of only 14 votes compared to those in favor.

Vote totals still need to certified by boards of canvassers in coming days.

The proposal got to the ballot after backers gathered more than 1,000 signatures from registered voters.

Tuesday's vote doesn't automatically mean that recreational establishments, like stores, growers, transporters, processors or testing laboratories will be allowed in the township. That would take either a vote from township trustees or approval by voters of another citizen-initiated ballot proposal.

Currently, township ordinance allows limited numbers of medical marijuana businesses, but not recreational ones. That includes up to six provisioning centers that could distribute the drug to patients who have medical marijuana cards.

But thus far no medical marijuana facilities have opened in the township nor have any gone through Meridian's full licensing process, Township Manager Frank Walsh said.

Walsh speculated that cannabis entrepreneurs have been holding off doing business in the township until it became clear whether Meridian would allow recreational, also called adult-use, businesses.

It's been legal since late 2018 for adults 21 and older to use marijuana recreationally in Michigan, although local communities may ban or restrict recreational or medical businesses within their jurisdictions.

Sarah Lehr is a politics and civics reporter for WKAR News.
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