Wakefield Township Board votes no to marijuana enterprise

Wakefield Township Board votes no to marijuana enterprise By P.J. GLISSON news@yourdailyglobe.com

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP – The Wakefield Township Board voted Wednesday to opt out of allowing a recreational marijuana enterprise within its region. In addition, said supervisor John Cox of the unanimous vote, “The resolution does not allow the use of marijuana on any township-owned properties.” Cox said nobody offered opinions during the meeting’s public comments period. “There was no one there,” he said Thursday. He said he did share with the board the opinion of one township resident, who had called him to suggest the potential marijuana business could be helpful to the area’s economy. “And it may be,” said Cox, who added that, nevertheless, he believes industries such as machining and logging make more sense in the township. He said the board had done research regarding the effects the legalization of recreational marijuana has had on other states. In addition, he said 87 of Wakefield Township citizens voted no on legalizing recreational marijuana while 60 voted yes. “So we took that into consideration,” he said. As a result of last fall’s midterm election, Michigan is now the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Cox said he’s pleased with Northern Natural Gas’s project on M-28 a few miles east of the city of Wakefield. “It’s a great benefit,” he said, adding the “huge” project will result in about $20,000 in annual taxes for his township. According to Cox, Northern Natural Gas has been working toward expanding its Marquette branch line ever since it received federal authorization in April of 2018. Cost of the project, which involves construction of a new compressor station, is estimated at more than $21 million. In association with that project, Cox reported in his December 2018 newsletter that Xcel Energy (Northern States Power) also has “upgraded and extended the power lines through our township to make power available to the new Northern Natural compressor station.” Cox said the area’s three pipeline companies – Trans Canada, Enbridge and Northern Natural – pay $316,525 annually in taxes to Wakefield Township, the Wakefield-Marenisco School District and Gogebic County. He added that Xcel Energy pays an additional $57,459 in annual taxes to the same three entities. The township board will meet next on Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the township building at 414 North County Road 519.