Laurium rejects dispensary

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Alicia Roundtree (right, center), owner of the now closed Zen Garden marijuana dispensary in Calumet, asked the Laurium Village Council members if they would consider opting the village into the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

LAURIUM — Alicia Roundtree discussed her hope of relocating her marijuana dispensary, Zen Garden, from Calumet Village to Laurium Village, after the Calumet Village Council voted to take no action on opting into the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act until more is known about how the state will proceed with laws and policies.

“We really want to stay in this region,” Roundtree said in her address to the board. “We have a lot of patients that are up the hill here, that don’t have transportation. So, we’d like to talk to you about opting in for the dispensary.”

Roundtree mentioned the potential for reimbursements to townships that opt into the state act.

“Right now, it’s a $1.4 billion industry,” she said. “Recreational marijuana is on the ballot for next year, and so we’ve all seen or heard a little bit about how well Colorado is doing, and Michigan’s twice the population, so we could double those numbers here.”

Roundtree continued by saying Portage Township, and Hubbell have opted in, and Houghton is considering it, and said that “pretty much all of” the Upper Peninsula, with the exception of Negaunee, is considering opting in.

“With the people I have spoken to, and this isn’t just as of the last meeting or anything, this is over a period of time,” Village President Don Bausano said. “Laurium is an old community, and the feeling here is until the state, federal government, or whoever else is involved, does something, we’re not going to do anything.”

Roundtree responded by saying that she feels the state already has, as evidenced by new regulations and licensing requirements. She also pointed out that there are many medical marijuana patients from Copper Harbor to Kearsarge, including Calumet and Laurium, who will either rely on the black market for their medication, or a regulated dispensary.

Bausano said he did not understand why they would not get their medicine from Hubbell or Houghton when they go to those villages to shop. Roundtree responded that transportation was an issue for many.

“Okay. Are you going to tell me that everybody that lives in Laurium does not go down to Houghton to shop?” Bausano asked.

Bausano repeated that Laurium was an old community, not a new, modern city, and the village has just one bar.

“What I am stating to you is not reasons, but just something that’s out there,” said Bausano. “They’re doing everything else, you can’t tell me they can’t get their medication, either. That’s just our feeling right now.”