Board considers recreational marijuana

Bruce Foether wants to move Vassar Township forward on recreational marijuana.

The township supervisor proposed at Tuesday’s monthly meeting that the township allow one or more adult-use recreational marijuana establishments within its borders and to direct the planning commission to begin work on the appropriate ordinance and zoning amendments.

“I don’t know what to say,” a surprised board member Bill Gray said.

By doing this, Foether said, the board will retain the right to decide what facilities it will allow in. “Right now we just sit here and do nothing about recreational (marijuana),” said Foether. “It doesn’t sound like that,” said John Stack, township treasurer.

Foether said there already are limits on recreational marijuana outlets because operators cannot get a recreational marijuana permit unless they already have qualified for a medical license to distribute.

“I don’t know what to do,” said Gray.

“It is letting the planning board do what they did with medical (marijuana),” Foether said, “and start going over the ordinances with Tom (Reif, municipal consultant for Michigan Municipal Cannabis Consultants of Bay City).”

“Yes,” said Stack, “but there was never a ‘one or more’ in the medical. There was always a number.”

Foether said this is just a starting point.

“It is going to take the planning commission a while anyway,” board member Tom Borcherding said.

Stack said he would prefer having the township’s lawyer review the motion. 

“There is something about that I don’t like,” he said, adding he thinks the proposal is too broad.

Foether said the reason it is written that way is to let people who are interested in starting such a facility know the township is working on allowing it.

The board finally decided to send the motion to the lawyer for review and clarity.

The board also:

• Learned the township was a month behind in its payments to Consumers Energy. This came to light when Stack asked about a second bill received from Consumers in one month – one saying it was due on Aug. 1 and the other saying it is due on Aug. 31. One was for July and one was for August. The board approved a double payment in order to get caught up.

• Added the last future-land-use map to the master plan. The plan now will go back to the planning commission for review and then either the board or planning commission will host the public hearing on it, once the public has had a chance to look at the document. Then the board can approve it or not.

• Received a $98,838 bill from the City of Vassar for the township’s 29.07 percent part of the Vassar Fire Dept.’s $340,000 new fire truck. The invoice will be added to September’s bills, with the intent to pay it in full.

• Will be sending a letter of thanks to the people and groups that donated to the recent ribbon-cutting event at the township park and pavilion. 

• Learned the insurance company has agreed to insure the playground equipment at the park, but the firm needs information in order to insure the pavilion. The board also voted to have its insurance agent come to a meeting and explain why the firm won’t insure the teeter totter, with the repairs and improvements the township has made.

• Voted to pay Booms Construction the final payment for pavilion work at the park.

• Voted to raise pay for the administrative assistant to $15 per hour and the deputy treasurer and deputy clerk to $12.50 per hour. The pay changes are retroactive to July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The decision was based on the recommendation of the people at the June 29 annual meeting.

Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at

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