People opposed to more land for the marijuana land rush in Saginaw County were vastly outnumbered by supporters Tuesday at the County Board of Commissioners meeting to boost Chesaning’s hopes for budding marijuana businesses.
The board approved annexation of 19 acres from the Chesaning Township to the village of Chesaning to promote the business and economic development.
All commissioners except for Dennis Krafft voted for the annexation on Tuesday, March 20.
Zach Chludil, Chesaning resident and co-founder of Plant Life, said the land will be used to grow marijuana for medical reasons and then shipped to dispensaries across the state.
The land, formerly the Peet Packing Co., sits on the property line of the village and township.
“We have been trying to get annexed into the village so we can be a part of the medical marijuana ordinance,” Chludil said.
In June 2017, the Village Council opted into the state medical marijuana facilities act.
Plant Life LLC will run an organic medical marijuana growing operation that is projected to create 320 jobs over the next five years.
“The township is kind of archaic in their mindset and very non-progressive and they’re completely against it,” Chludil said. “It’s just a moral issue with marijuana, so they’re completely against it. They fought the annexation tooth and nail to prevent us from being able to use the Farmer Peet facility, which we own. They would rather see it stay vacant rather than have a viable business.”
Ken Hornak, a Chesaning resident, forefully spoke out against the plan at the meeting.
“I call it a tsunami. It’s like a wave but, it’s a tsunami. It will consume our community presence,” Hornak said.
A few others who opposed the decision voiced their opinions from their seats or clapped to show their support. However, the presence in the room was overwhelmingly in support of the the land annexation.
“Today is a great day for the village of Chesaning the township of Chesaning, Saginaw County and the state of Michigan because everyone is going to win,” Chludil said. “Everyone is going to get quite a jolt of economic stimulation out of this.”
The next step for the business is to submit an application to the village for a medical marijuana facility. The Village Council passed a 180-day moratorium on new applications for medical marijuana facilities that will go into effect on July 1, but the council will still accept applications until then.
Chludil said the annexation opens the door for future endeavors such as an opiate rehabilitation center the group plans.
As of February, the Village Council approved licenses for two provisioning centers or dispensaries and several grow/process facilities.