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In online survey, Hancock votes for marijuana

(Daily Mining Gazette photo) A portion of the results from the Ad Hoc Recreational Marijuana Committee’s online survey.

On Wednesday, the Hancock City Council’s Ad Hoc Recreational Marijuana Committee released the results of an online survey meant to gauge the public’s feelings on recreational marijuana licensing in the city and more specifically in the downtown district. The results, which were shared with a number of local media outlets via email, includes 108 responses to the online survey, which has been live since early October on Hancock’s website. A number of responses were also collected from the attendants of the Recreational Marijuana Info Session held by the city council in early October.

Respondents were asked to identify their relationship with the city of Hancock as a resident, student, property owner, visitor, or someone employed in the city. Respondents were allowed to select as many of those options as applicable – someone could mark that they were a resident, a property owner, and employed in the city, or a student and a resident and employed in the city, etc. As a result, some responses were included in multiple categories.

Of the 66 people who identified themselves as residents, 72.7% said that the city of Hancock should allow recreational marijuana licensing, while 24.2% said that they should not. Of the 39 people who identified themselves as property owners, 69.2% said that the city should allow marijuana licensing, 28.2% said that they were against.

Of the 31 people who said that they work in the city, 58.1% said that they were for marijuana licensing with 38.7% against. The decreased favorability of marijuana licensing among businesses was mirrored in another survey conducted by the Hancock Downtown Development Authority, which found that 77% of members that responded were against marijuana licensing in the downtown.

The downtown was selected as the area for recreational marijuana licensing by the committee largely in the hopes that incoming marijuana businesses would fill empty storefronts on main street. However, the idea of marijuana businesses downtown has been less popular with citizens than the idea of recreational marijuana in Hancock. The city of Hancock’s survey found that while over 70% of respondents were in favor of recreational marijuana in Hancock, only 42.7% were in favor of having it in the proposed downtown area.

The survey also touched on the possibility of putting recreational marijuana licensing to a referendum vote. The idea was brought up during the public discussion portion of October’s informational session where it was popular among attendants. Mayor Paul LaBine called the idea “appealing” and said that the council would look into the possibility. However, comments on the topic left on the online survey were overwhelmingly negative, pointing out that 57.3% of the Hancock voters voted in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana at the state level last year.

While the Ad Hoc Recreational Marijuana Committee and the city council is taking survey results into consideration, they have not yet moved forward on ordinances or on placing recreational marijuana on a municipal ballot.

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