Meridian Voices Petition Seeks to Give Residents a Voice

Meridian Voices Petition Seeks to Give Residents a Voice

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - During a busy day at the Meridian Township Farmers Market, between flower shops and food stands, Phil Pavona sits and collects signatures. The petition, started for a November ballot measure, would give citizens the right to vote on the presence of marijuana shops in Meridian Township.

Pavona is part of the Meridian Voices group, a group of residents who want to see a change in the way recreational marijuana shops are approved. Currently, the Township Board decides if and where recreational marijuana shops are allowed to open. There are currently no recreational marijuana shops in Meridian Township, however, the possibility has recently been discussed.

“As a dad, as a grandfather, I just don’t think its the greatest thing to have in the Township,” said Pavona, who has worked with youth struggling with substance abuse.

“I don’t see the upside in any way shape or form, but at the very least, whether it’s something you do or don’t support, I think it should be the Township residents who decide, vs. the Township Board.”

The petition needs around 1,000 signatures to be passed, and must be turned in by July 27. However, Meridian Township residents previously surveyed in favor of recreational marijuana.

“Meridian voted 61% for recreational [marijuana] ,” said Meridian Township Trustee Courtney Wisinski. “I know we do hear from the folks that have concerns which are absolutely important. There’s a stigma that is associated with this, and that maybe stops folks from coming out and speaking for it.”

Wisinski, as opposed to Pavona, believes regulating Marijuana will keep teens safer, by removing the possibility for laced and synthetic marijuana.

“To me I think it is a safer route for our teenagers if we can regulate this particular product,” Wisinski said. “That helps get some of those illicit drugs off the street.”

Regardless, Pavona and the members of Meridian Voices believe that is a choice only the people should make.

“Let’s give people the opportunity to be heard as to whether or not it’s something they want in the township,” Pavona said.

If the petition receives enough signatures, residents will get to make their choice to allow recreational marijuana shops in Meridian Township on the November ballot.

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