What Michigan’s Recreational Marijuana Vote Could Mean for Neighboring Wisconsin Communities

Local News

Geographically, only about a quarter mile and a bridge over the Menominee River separate Marinette, Wis. and Menominee, Mich. 

If Michiganders vote in favor of Proposal One on November 6, the sale and recreational use of marijuana would be legalized, and regulate the drug like alcohol.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the latest polling shows the measure passing with a 57% to 41% margin.

That’s the reality that bordering communities, like Marinette, are gearing up for.

“I would say the past year the department, and I know other jurisdictions nearby, they’ve been focusing on identifying impairment with people who are under the influence of marijuana,” Marinette Police Patrol Officer Adam Waeghe told Local 5.

Across the bridge, Proposal One is all the buzz. 

“I  work in a smoke shop, I hear a lot of people talking about this proposal and how they would like it,” Ron Plemel of Menominee said. “There’s a few people that I’ve talked to, maybe two I think, that were just up in arms, they didn’t want to do, but for the most part people are all good and going forward.”

The support is in part due to the economic impact recreational marijuana could have in Michigan.

If the proposal passes, legal sales of marijuana are expected to exceed one billlion dollars.

Medical Marijuana was legalized in Michigan back in 2008, and Officer Waeghe says his department saw a significant uptick in crimes like possession of marijuana following that legalization.

“We didn’t just see an increase in seizures of marijuana just by grams or ounces, it’s literally been pounds that have been seized in the city of Marinette,” he said.

But not everyone shares those concerns about a potential impact in Wisconsin.

“You look at California and Oregon, they’ve been legal for a long time, I don’t see a big problem in Nevada, I don’t see a big problem in Idaho,” Plemel said. “Am I saying that people won’t come across the border and do it? No, but I don’t see it being a problem at all.”


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