(Monday - February 15, 2021) - At any given time
during the past decade or so, there have been far more job openings in
Dickinson County than there area unemployed persons to fill those
openings. This is obviously a situation that is not sustainable over a
long period of time.
Each year, for the past decade or so,
Dickinson County has recorded more deaths than births. This is
understandable with an ever-increasing median age in the County, since
senior citizens only rarely parent children.
Each year, for the
past decade or so, more and more of the County's young people have
chosen to seek their fortunes elsewhere, taking themselves and possibly
their families to "greener pastures."
Dickinson County is not
exactly a horrible place to live, so why do so many choose to abandon
their families and friends to leave the area? The number one reason
given by those who have contacted us is boredom; lack of social
Changing societal attitudes on alcohol, and "zero
tolerance" enforcement by local police, have made the bars and taverns,
where people have traditionally gathered for centuries, pretty much off
limits to all but the bravest souls.
This leaves a good segment
of the population with absolutely no access to a social life. Hence
boredom; hence move to Green Bay, Milwaukee, etc.
No one is even
suggesting that consumption of alcohol is a good idea. Even if we
disregard the societal aspects, the amount of damage that alcohol does
to the consumer's body is unquestioned and in most cases obvious.
Unfortunately, bars and taverns are the only social opportunities
available in the region.
But there is an alternative, in the law
passed by Michigan voters, legalizing cannabis in the State. We're
Under the law,
adults over the age of 21 are permitted to consume cannabis on the
premises of what is often referred to as a "Cannabis Lounge." Think of a
Designated Consumption Establishment as a "smoking lounge."
those that have visited Amsterdam, a Designated Consumption
Establishment will probably look fairly similar to a "coffeeshop."
There are different formats for these lounges. Some are along the
traditional bar or tavern configuration, others more like informal
living rooms, or lounging areas. Many also have things such as pool
tables, dart boards, juke boxes, etc., available to customers. Most also
sell soft drinks and "munchies."
Consumption Establishments are required to be kept separate from other
marijuana-related businesses; with their own separate entrances and
exits. In other words, a licensed Marijuana Retailer (dispensary) could
have an accompanying Designated Consumption Lounge in an adjoining
Some of these establishments operate with no
on-site cannabis sales; more of a "bring your own" environment.
These establishments derive their income from amusements machines - pool
tables, dart boards, video games, etc., and from the sale of concessions
such as soft drinks and food items.
One criticism of Michigan's commercial medical marijuana
system was the absence of any designated areas for consuming cannabis.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency solicited a significant amount of
feedback from industry stakeholders as part of workgroup sessions, and
it's clear that the Agency listened to the feedback by making sure there
are businesses that can provide safe and responsible areas for adults to
comfortably and legally consume cannabis.
The City Council has
already, in a forward looking, progressive action, moved to permit the
sale of marijuana in the City. (To the amazement of many in the
community, the World did not end!) Certainly they were aware in doing so,
that people are going to consume the products that they buy. So it
really makes little sense not to allow a license or licenses for
designated consumption establishments, thereby filling a huge gap, that
could possibly convince a few people to stick around for awhile.
To the Council we would say: "Do it for the sake of the economy."