Pubdate: Sat, 09 Aug 2014
Source: Oakland Press, The (MI)
Copyright: 2014 The Oakland Press
Author: Aftab Borka
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Michigan)


When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, nobody knew exactly how
would it affect the state's economy.

But when the numbers starting coming in, it turned out that pot
legalization proved to be a good source of revenue for the state. One
report said Colorado expected about $184 million in tax revenues in
the first 18 months since the law passed.

The Colorado story encouraged many Michigan communities to legalize or
decriminalize pot in their areas and the recent cities being added to
the list are Oak Park and Hazel Park.

And now, after voters approved the ballot, the big question for many
people is: Is it good for local businesses?

"I don't think it's going to hurt me," said Michael Wilds, owner of
House of Shamrocks Sports Pub.

Wilds, who has owned the Hazel Park business for 13 years, believes
the state of Michigan will follow Colorado's path at some point in the

"I think it's an opportunity to bring some different businesses in the
area," he said. "From what I hear from some of the people in the area
they think it's going to help out. I like it actually."

But not everyone agrees.

Nick Savaya, owner of Savaya Auto Service, says people need to take
the issue seriously and understand the overall effects of the law.

"Any way it's not good for the economy and for the person himself,"
Savaya said.

When asked what he thinks about legalized pot being a good source of
business, Savaya, who has owned the auto business for 10 years, said:
"Maybe it's good for some people who sell this."

Charles Gladue, manager of a local store for 10 years, has been aware
of Hazel Park's marijuana legalization issue since he also serves as
one of the city's planning commissioners. Gladue says the overall
effect on businesses will not be visible unless pot is legalized statewide.

"I don't think it will affect it one way or the other as far as people
coming in and spending their money (in the city)," he said.

But for now, he said, if the city wants to take advantage of the law,
it could help in one way.

"I think it's good that they did legalize it for the simple fact that
you are not going to have all these officers tied up with little petty
drug busts," he said.

City officials, however, say that the police department will continue
to enforce state law as far as dealing with drug busts.

But Gladue thinks if the city stops arresting people for small pot
possessions, it could turn out to be good for the taxpayers.

"I think it's going to free the courts up a little bit and save the
taxpayers money on it." he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt