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Marijuana tax revenue fueling one Jackson County township's road repairs

Cracked pavement
Leoni Township
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jun 30, 2022

JACKSON, Mich. — The Jackson County Board of Commissioners recently approved a measure to use marijuana tax revenue from Leoni Township to fix their roads.

Leoni Township will provide $208,000 for improvements to primary roads in the township, and the county will match those funds.

This is because the Jackson County Department of Transportation does not have funds in its 2022 budget to match this contribution prompting Leoni Township officials to offer to put up half the cost of the project, if the county could as well. The funds county is using is money from recreational marijuana taxes and fees.

Commissioner Corey Kennedy who represents Leoni Township voted in favor of the measure that passed 7-2.

“The roads have long been neglected in Leoni Township, and they are the township that took the risk in bringing the medical marijuana businesses to Jackson County,” he said. “The funds that were derived out of the excise tax were predominantly from Leoni Township, so I felt it was just cause and work to the primary roads is needed.”

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act imposes a 10 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales in addition to a 6 percent sales tax.

Leoni Township has eight of Jackson County’s 11 marijuana retailers.

According to the state Department of Treasury, the county brought in $620,987 in marijuana monies with Leoni Township receiving $451,627.

Commissioner Earl Poleski voted against the measure, but it wasn’t because he didn’t want to see the township’s roads fixed. He says he wants to make sure the county does not use general fund monies in a specific way when there are revenues that exist for those purposes.

“That’s innovative, and it’s a good idea and we need to do a lot of work on the roads,” he said. “However, we do always find ourselves short of money on general fund purposes and I don’t want to see us as a county get into the precedent of dedicating the marijuana monies to only to those areas where the marijuana dispensaries are located, and they’re not located in every area of the county.”

The county Department of Transportation has targeted several Leoni Township roads which include Falahee, Flansburg, Hoyer, Broad, Gillettes Lake and Sutton roads – all rated in poor condition.

A final determination of which roads will be improved will happen at a later date.

The township and county funds would be used to pay for the materials. The county Department of Transportation would provide its crews and equipment for the work.

The total cost of the project would be $416,000.

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