HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Marijuana in Michigan continues to spark controversy around the state, and in metro Detroit.
On Tuesday, the Hazel Park City Council will vote on whether to approve a 2-day music festival where people can also legally use marijuana.
The concerns are mainly logistical, according to many people we spoke with. The two-day "Spark in the Park" music festival is scheduled to take place June 18 and June 19 at Green Acres Park in Hazel Park.
The park is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and some people who live around the area are worried about parking and odors. Event organizers say they have a plan for both.
Green Acres is a hot spot for big events in the city. The Memorial Day festival is hosted every year, and the Spark in the Park would be around the same size, but instead of drinking alcohol, people would be using marijuana.
"I have received very little feedback that is against the substance and spirit of the event the opposition has been primarily logistical which being in a residential area is a very fair critique," Hazel Park Councilman Luke Londo said.
Considering marijuana is legal, Londo said the issue isn't morality – it's parking, it's odor, and it's the fear of too much commotion.
"I don't think it will affect nobody unless people start acting crazy or something like that then I think it will be perfectly fine," Mario Piage said.
Londo said all activities will be contained in the ball field, and the council expects additional fencing to be put in.
The Michigan Cannabis Association is organizing the event. Their statement reads in part, "Per state regulation, our event is ticketed and takes place inside opaque fencing to ensure the event is not visible to outside pedestrians. Smoking will take place in designated consumption tents equipped with filtered HVAC systems. Our staging placement and sound design will be directional in nature, and conform with the City's existing noise & nuisance regulations."
Emma Gougeon said the festival will be great for local businesses. Many have been invited to set up shop. She thinks events like this will help break the stigma around cannabis and the people who enjoy it.
"I can understand it is a big adjustment for people all and all it's good. It is benefiting our community not just for allowing people to have access but also improving our parks," Gougeon said.
Organizers have committed to making a contribution to the city's parks & recreation department, and to the Hazel Park Promise Zone Foundation.
They say they have secured enough parking areas and are working on getting a shuttle system in place for the event.