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By Brice Burge

The Michigan Department of Treasury announced that $42.2 million will be distributed to 163 municipalities and counties as part of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

Both the county government and the municipality that holds a marijuana retail shop received $56,453.44 for each active license. According to Michigan State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, the tax revenue share payout is approximately double what it was in 2021.

Luce County and its four townships did not receive any marijuana revenue payouts because there are no marijuana retail stores in the county. Though Michigan voters approved a proposal in 2018 that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, the concept didn’t get much traction locally. The Village of Newberry voted against allowing a retail cannabis shop within its borders, and Pentland Township followed suit. McMillan Township has neither encouraged nor discouraged the opportunity.

“I do think Newberry made a mistake by not allowing marijuana sales,” said Catherine Freese, village council president. “I was the only member of Council to vote against the ordinance banning such establishments. I respect that the Council wanted to wait to allow the state time to work out the new laws and/or make necessary adjustments. I believe enough time has passed that it should be reconsidered.”

Though $56,453.44 wouldn’t be enough to complete all Newberry’s needed projects, Freese knows it would have gone a long way.

“We have a water project from several years ago that needs to be completed, a water tower that will soon need replacing, and of course the state-mandated water line replacement project. Not to mention street or alley repairs,” she said.

Freese plans to place the topic on the council agenda soon.

Neighboring counties of Alger received the minimum of $112,906.88 for one marijuana store to be split evenly between the county and the City of Munising. Chippewa received $238,720.64 in tax revenue, with $169,360.32 to the county, $56,453.44 to the Village of DeTour and $112,906.88 to the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

Washtenaw County and its municipalities received the most profit share with $3.61 million split between the county and its municipalities. Receiving the most tax revenue sharing in the U.P. was Marquette County with $1.016 million awarded to the county and four municipalities.

While 53 of Michigan’s 83 counties received some sort of tax revenue payout, only six of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties saw a check.

In addition to the local government distribution, $49.3 million in marijuana tax revenue was sent to the School Aid Fund for K-12 education and another $49.3 million to the Michigan Transportation Fund.

-With contributions from Carol Stiffler