Bay City mayor vetoes medical marijuana facility

Rudy’s Red Lion Diner, which sits on the corner of Center Avenue and Saginaw Street in downtown Bay City, continues to sit vacant. The Bay City board of commissioners voted Monday, Nov. 4 to uphold a mayoral veto on the decision to allow a medical marijuana dispensary to move in to the former restaurant. (Michael Piwowarski/Editor-in-chief)

By Michael Piwowarski, editor-in-chief.

BAY CITY – In October, the Bay City board of commissioners voted to approve opening a medical marijuana dispensary in the former Rudy’s Red Lion diner, which closed in July 2018 for unknown reasons. However, a mayoral veto on the decision was submitted three days later.

At their Monday, Nov. 4 meeting, the board of commissioners upheld the veto in a 7-1 vote, meaning the building which sits on the corner of Center Avenue and Saginaw Street will remain empty.

“It was very close to the [Delta College Planetarium] which does have children that go to classes there, as well as young adults” says mayor Kathleen Newsham, explaining her reason for the veto. “[…] I just felt it was too close and there were so many people in the community that were not against medical marijuana; they were just against the location of the building.”

Newsham acted based on the citizens’ opinions. However, she still supports having medical marijuana dispensaries in Bay City.

“I know medical marijuana is such a benefit for many, many people,” says Newsham. “The lotions and the oil relieve a lot of anxiety, they relieve a lot of pain. But the location, when you’re in the heart of the downtown business district – especially Center is one of the biggest entryways in the community and that’s a problem.”

Bay City currently has a limit of 50 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, which was doubled from 25 earlier this year. Newsham says there will be more businesses looking to get approved to open up in town, once they get approval from both the city and the state of Michigan.

“It’s all going to just depend on how that all pans out,” says Newsham. “50 is a lot for a community our size; you’ve already seen some changes in Bangor Township, because they’ve had so many in such a fast time, so we’ll see.”

This story is developing; be sure to follow the Delta Collegiate for updates.

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