Leoni Twp. medical marijuana fees called into question by trustee

LEONI TWP, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s a developing scandal in Jackson County involving township officials pocketing big bucks from medical marijuana applications.

A lot of Leoni Township residents have been voicing their concerns about how the money is being allocated.

Township officials insist everything they’re doing is legal.

But a township trustee is calling that into question, and is asking for a review of the situation.

Wednesday night, Leoni Township Trustee Corey Kennedy sat through a contentious meeting.

“I really related with them. They should be outraged,” Kennedy said.

Residents spoke out about what the township is doing with application fees for medical marijuana facilities.

Each applicant is charged $5,000.

Plans call for splitting up that money and giving it to township officials and departments as payment for the extra work they do to process the applications.

Kennedy says trustees are making $200 every time they meet to review applications.

But some officials, like the clerk and attorney, are making thousands of dollars on the deal.

“The amount of money we’re talking about just isn’t justifiable in my mind,” Kennedy said.

Trustee Kurt Cole and Kennedy voted against the pay structure and want to return the money they’ve been given.

Kennedy hopes a new plan he drafted will be considered.

“Primarily 67 percent of it is going to go to law enforcement, and resources that law enforcement will need to directly enforce the ordinance,” Kennedy said.

A spokesman for Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says municipalities are allowed to use the application money on administrative costs.

But he says how that money is being used, and if it’s legal, is up to another legal entity.

Kennedy isn’t aware of any other community with a pay structure like this, and wants an outside person to review the situation.

“I don’t know whatever motive there would be than financial gain. I find it morally and ethically wrong,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy hopes a new allocation plan can be worked out at a meeting later this month.