Up in smoke: Controversy surrounds medical marijuana money in Leoni Twp.

LEONI TWP, Mich. (WLNS) — Residents came out to a contentious medical marijuana meeting Wednesday night.

But the controversy didn’t concern allowing weed in Leoni Township, it was about what should be done with money from application fees to open up a pot facility.

Just looking at the situation, it appears Leoni Township is making lots money from medical marijuana.

But the township says everything is on the up and up.

As the Leoni Township Board of Trustees voted on applications to open medical marijuana facilities in the township, residents were worried about where the application fees were going.

“The way this money is moving seems really suspect to me,” said Leoni Township resident Kip Barber.

Every applicant is charged $5,000 to have their application processed.

Plans call for splitting up that money and handing it over to township departments and officials.

For example, the township clerk is making $500 from every application that’s filed.

“They’ve lined their pockets with the money,” Barber said.

Leoni Township Attorney Eric White says some residents are misunderstanding the situation.

“There are certainly no ethical issues. This talk of lining pockets is disturbing,” White said.

According to White, it’s against state law to use the application money on anything not-related to marijuana.

And since no public funds can be used to process the weed applications, he says the extra pay is only fair.

“I couldn’t tell you how many hours both during the normal work day and after that this is taking up. It’s pretty much consuming a lot of our lives here,” White said.

Several residents, including two trustees, demanded a review of the where the money is going.

Some have suggested using it to help police enforce the marijuana facilities.

“Look at ways to spend this money that would be suitable for the township, not just themselves,” White said.

All 12 applications that went before the board were approved at the meeting.

White says the next step is state approval.

He indicated that the process would then accelerate, and we could soon see a medical marijuana boom in the township.