Niles Township board to discuss pros, cons of recreational marijuana

Published 10:52 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — During a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees agreed to meet with township attorney Rob Thall regarding marijuana and the potential for recreational marijuana businesses in the township.

Treasurer Jim Ringler said that Thall is advising the board to meet and discuss the issue because a marijuana action item can be brought to the township in more ways than just a board action.

“We haven’t seen any, but there are people out there proposing [marijuana] ballot initiatives for Niles Township,” he said. “There are pros and cons both ways, and [Thall] would like to talk to us as our attorney and go through some of the pros and cons with this in regard to Marijuana use.”

In May 2019, the board unanimously voted against allowing recreational marijuana businesses in the township, opting instead to take a “wait and see” approach.

In the event that the meeting is not a closed session due to attorney-client privilege, the meeting would be open to the public.

“[Thall’s] whole message is for us to not just do nothing but to start looking at what could be, whether we like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, whether you vote for it or not, you need to know what both ways could bring into the township,” Ringler said.

In other business, the township board discussed ways in which it could utilize the $1.4 million it will receive via American Rescue Plan Act funding. Township Clerk Terry Eull said the township has received roughly 50 percent of the funding, with the remaining 50 percent to be distributed later in the year. Several options to spend the dollars were discussed, including for parks, school resource officers, roads and more.

Noting the extensive guidelines regarding how to allocate ARPA funding, the board opted to reconvene in one month’s time to allow for a thorough reading of the guidelines and for each member to create a detailed list of items to fund.

“I just think the best way to do this is for everybody to read through it and make a list one through ten of your highest priority items,” Ringler said. “We will pull all that together and try to come up with what we think are the prioritized items that the board can agree upon.”