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Officials respond to medical marijuana

 

Lapeer Township adopts 90-day moratorium on dispensaries BY NANCY ELLIOTT 810-452-2601 • nelliott@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER COUNTY — The county’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors just a few weeks ago in the village of Dryden. The Compassionate Care Center of Michigan took the village by surprise when they opened their doors, and it left the village officials with some quick thinking to do.

 

“I’ve gotten quite an education on it,” admitted village council president Pat Betcher recently. He noted that there was nothing the village could do to restrict its operation since it was a legal business. Nevertheless, he and other council members moved quickly to take steps to make sure the business operates without impacting the village in unforeseen ways.

 

“It’s a challenge, because they’re already there,” said Betcher. The council started by preparing and approving a regulatory ordinance. That ordi- nance set up a permitting process. It also restricts the number of dispensaries allowed in the village to one per 1,000 population. The village currently has about 800 residents.

 

In addition, the regulatory ordinance determines that the hours of operation for a dispensary must fall within 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

 

“This is just trying to lasso the horse until we can build the barn,” said Dryden Village Trustee Jeff Quail of the regulating ordinance.

 

Next, the council will take up zoning relative to the matter. Some residents expressed concerns about locating such businesses near places where children congregate downtown or near the library, churches or schools. Any medical marijuana dispensary would have to comply with the federal drug-free zone constraints, which limits the distance such a business could be located from a school to 1,000 feet.

 

Betcher said the location of the business right downtown was a good one. “This area is as good as any — it’s visible,” said Betcher.

 

When the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was originally passed in 2008, there were some concerns expressed about the development of dispensaries, but so far, most Lapeer County municipalities have yet to address the matter.

 

Lapeer Township took the matter up at their regular board meeting Monday, at the recommendation of the township’s police chief Bill Marshall. They approved a 90-day moratorium on medical marijuana facilities. No dispensaries will be permitted during that time, giving the township planning commission a window to study the topic. That group will take the matter up at their next meeting May 17.

 

Not all the municipalities are taking up the matter as swiftly. When, and if, they do, boards will have several options. Around the state, municipalities have approached the issue from various angles. Some are enacting zoning and regulatory ordinances, like Dryden, to regulate the businesses. Others are instituting moratoriums to give them time to study the issue prior to developing ordinances. Yet others have enacted bans on dispensaries by approving ordinances that give federal law precedence over state law.

 

It remains to be seen how the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act will ultimately play out. “The way the law is written, it’s so vague,” said Betcher.

 

In the meantime, he is working closely with the area’s first dispensary to make sure there are no problems.

 

“They seem to be willing to work with us,” said Betcher. “They’ve been up front.” The business agreed to keep things low-key, and so far, no one’s been able to point out any problems.

 

— Emily Caswell contributed to this article.

 

 

 

 

http://thecountypres..._marijuana.html

 

 

 

 

How it works: Michigan Medical Marijuana Act

 

003p1.preview.jpgJoe Crowel, who heads up security at the center, checks out Larange’s patient paperwork, a prerequisite to gaining access to the caregiver’s locked room. Photo by NANCY ELLIOTT LAPEER COUNTY — Medical marijuana was approved by 63 percent of the voters in Michigan in 2008. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act became effective in December that year. It is one of 14 states that have legalized medical marijuana.

 

Michigan law allows qualifying patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. A qualifying patient is defined in that act as “a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.” The law specifies what those conditions are, they include cancer, glaucoma, and more.

 

The law also defines a primary caregiver as “a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.” A caregiver may also be a patient.

 

A primary caregiver may have in their possession up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for themselves as a patient and for up to five other qualifying patients, for a total of 15 ounces. Primary caregivers may also cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants per patient, including themselves, in an enclosed, locked facility. That means that a caregiver may cultivate up to 72 plants.

 

Both qualified patients and primary caregivers must possess identification cards issued by the state department of community health. Currently, the state is overwhelmed with applications for ID cards and they are several months behind in their issuance. In lieu of ID cards, appropriate proof of application is also acceptable.

 

In order to get ID cards, patients must get written certification from a physician stating the opinion that the patient is likely to receive palliative or therapeutic benefit for their debilitating medical condition through the use of medical marijuana.

 

As of April 30 this year, 14,398 patient registrations and 6,274 caregiver registrations have been issued by the state.

 

Lapeer County Prosecuting Attorney Byron Konschuh notes the vague nature of the medical marijuana law. “It will be a headache for the courts to interpret and fill in the holes in the law,” he said.

 

Undersheriff Bob Rapson agrees, “Because the law is written vaguely, all the nuances of it have not been tested through the court system.” He also stresses the importance of complying with the smoking laws and using a designated “non-high” driver.

 

“It’s going to be an enforcement issue if (medicated patients) operate a motor vehicle,” Konschuh concurs.

 

Konschuh says that where there’s a valuable commodity, it has the potential to enhance criminal activity. So far, though, the new law does not seem to be driving such activity in the county.

 

Another area law enforcement will no doubt be keeping an eye on is the number of patients per caregiver.

 

“If they’re following the rules, I don’t have a concern,” Konschuh said of Dryden’s new dispensary. The word “dispensary” is not actually to be found in the language of the medical marijuana law. In Dryden Village’s new ordinance, it is defined as “any location providing Medical Marijuana to more than five qualified patients and/or caregivers.”

 

Even though Michigan has approved the medical marijuana law, federal law does not recognize medical marijuana. Attorney General Eric Holder last year suggested that the Department of Justice’s enforcement policy shifted towards only those dispensaries that use the medical marijuana laws as a shield for illegal trafficking.

 

For more information on the law and how to apply for ID cards, check out the Michigan Dept. of Community Health’s page on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program at www.michigan.gov.

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Berkley officials discuss possibility of medical pot ordinance

JEREMY SELWESKI C & G Staff Writer

Published: May 12, 2010

BERKLEY - The city may become one of the next metro Detroit communities to regulate the growth and distribution of medical marijuana within its borders.In the meantime, city officials want to make sure that no marijuana facilities open their doors in Berkley. On May 3, the City Council held a work session to discuss the issue, and its members agreed that the city should adopt a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries to give the city administration time to craft a zoning ordinance that would restrict where such facilities could be located.

 

"This is not something we can just ignore," said Councilman Dan Terbrack. "I think the safest, smartest approach right now is a moratorium. … I don't see why the city of Berkley should act as a guinea pig here. We can always look at a zoning ordinance in the future." City Attorney Dale Schneider warned the council that there are "glaring gaps" in the law that Michigan voters approved in November 2008. Since that time, the state government has issued about 11, 000 cards for medical marijuana patients and about 4, 000 cards for primary caregivers to grow the drug and supply it to patients.

 

"There is very little discretion in Lansing right now," Schneider said. "Unless there is evidence of fraud, they basically have to rubber stamp it. … We want to control this as best we can. Frankly, I think zoning is a good idea. That way, we'll know exactly where this is happening, and there will be no wasted police effort." Unfortunately, said Public Safety Director Richard Eshman, regulating medical marijuana dispensaries presents "an enforcement nightmare" for local police. In a subsequent interview, he explained that such facilities would be "almost impossible" to keep tabs on if they were allowed to operate in a residential district rather than a business district.

 

"What I'm opposed to is not what the vast majority of these dispensaries are doing," Eshman said. "I'm opposed to people who are using this new law as a mask to establish a dope pad inside their home. … This would create a huge advantage for any unscrupulous caregivers out there. If this is allowed in residential neighborhoods, it could be a disaster." The council has no plans to let that happen, however. All members were greatly in favor of restricting any medical marijuana dispensaries in Berkley to a small area of the business district. According to City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa, at its next meeting on May 17, the council will vote on a moratorium for a period of either six or nine months while a zoning ordinance is created.

 

Berkley is one of a few cities in southeast Oakland County to look at medical marijuana regulation over the past few months. In January, Huntington Woods passed an ordinance restricting growth of the drug by primary caregivers to the city's business district. On April 12, Bloomfield Township passed a 120-day moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries while a zoning ordinance is being drawn up. Royal Oak adopted a similar measure one week later, but for a period of 180 days.

 

Then, on April 26, Birmingham took the regulation process one step further by passing an ordinance that entirely prohibits the growth, sale and dispensing of medical marijuana within the city. The ordinance states that Birmingham will follow federal guidelines - which assert that all marijuana use is illegal - in cases where there is a conflict between state and federal law.

 

As Eshman noted, "There is no clear answer for how to regulate this new law. You really have to look at it responsibly and figure out what's best for your own city.". here is other

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Officials respond to medical marijuana

 

Lapeer Township adopts 90-day moratorium on dispensaries BY NANCY ELLIOTT 810-452-2601 • nelliott@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER COUNTY — The county’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors just a few weeks ago in the village of Dryden. The Compassionate Care Center of Michigan took the village by surprise when they opened their doors, and it left the village officials with some quick thinking to do.

 

“I’ve gotten quite an education on it,” admitted village council president Pat Betcher recently. He noted that there was nothing the village could do to restrict its operation since it was a legal business. Nevertheless, he and other council members moved quickly to take steps to make sure the business operates without impacting the village in unforeseen ways.

 

“It’s a challenge, because they’re already there,” said Betcher. The council started by preparing and approving a regulatory ordinance. That ordi- nance set up a permitting process. It also restricts the number of dispensaries allowed in the village to one per 1,000 population. The village currently has about 800 residents.

 

In addition, the regulatory ordinance determines that the hours of operation for a dispensary must fall within 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

 

“This is just trying to lasso the horse until we can build the barn,” said Dryden Village Trustee Jeff Quail of the regulating ordinance.

 

Next, the council will take up zoning relative to the matter. Some residents expressed concerns about locating such businesses near places where children congregate downtown or near the library, churches or schools. Any medical marijuana dispensary would have to comply with the federal drug-free zone constraints, which limits the distance such a business could be located from a school to 1,000 feet.

 

Betcher said the location of the business right downtown was a good one. “This area is as good as any — it’s visible,” said Betcher.

 

When the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was originally passed in 2008, there were some concerns expressed about the development of dispensaries, but so far, most Lapeer County municipalities have yet to address the matter.

 

Lapeer Township took the matter up at their regular board meeting Monday, at the recommendation of the township’s police chief Bill Marshall. They approved a 90-day moratorium on medical marijuana facilities. No dispensaries will be permitted during that time, giving the township planning commission a window to study the topic. That group will take the matter up at their next meeting May 17.

 

Not all the municipalities are taking up the matter as swiftly. When, and if, they do, boards will have several options. Around the state, municipalities have approached the issue from various angles. Some are enacting zoning and regulatory ordinances, like Dryden, to regulate the businesses. Others are instituting moratoriums to give them time to study the issue prior to developing ordinances. Yet others have enacted bans on dispensaries by approving ordinances that give federal law precedence over state law.

 

It remains to be seen how the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act will ultimately play out. “The way the law is written, it’s so vague,” said Betcher.

 

In the meantime, he is working closely with the area’s first dispensary to make sure there are no problems.

 

“They seem to be willing to work with us,” said Betcher. “They’ve been up front.” The business agreed to keep things low-key, and so far, no one’s been able to point out any problems.

 

— Emily Caswell contributed to this article.

 

 

 

 

http://thecountypres..._marijuana.html

 

 

 

 

How it works: Michigan Medical Marijuana Act

 

003p1.preview.jpgJoe Crowel, who heads up security at the center, checks out Larange’s patient paperwork, a prerequisite to gaining access to the caregiver’s locked room. Photo by NANCY ELLIOTT LAPEER COUNTY — Medical marijuana was approved by 63 percent of the voters in Michigan in 2008. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act became effective in December that year. It is one of 14 states that have legalized medical marijuana.

 

Michigan law allows qualifying patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. A qualifying patient is defined in that act as “a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.” The law specifies what those conditions are, they include cancer, glaucoma, and more.

 

The law also defines a primary caregiver as “a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.” A caregiver may also be a patient.

 

A primary caregiver may have in their possession up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for themselves as a patient and for up to five other qualifying patients, for a total of 15 ounces. Primary caregivers may also cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants per patient, including themselves, in an enclosed, locked facility. That means that a caregiver may cultivate up to 72 plants.

 

Both qualified patients and primary caregivers must possess identification cards issued by the state department of community health. Currently, the state is overwhelmed with applications for ID cards and they are several months behind in their issuance. In lieu of ID cards, appropriate proof of application is also acceptable.

 

In order to get ID cards, patients must get written certification from a physician stating the opinion that the patient is likely to receive palliative or therapeutic benefit for their debilitating medical condition through the use of medical marijuana.

 

As of April 30 this year, 14,398 patient registrations and 6,274 caregiver registrations have been issued by the state.

 

Lapeer County Prosecuting Attorney Byron Konschuh notes the vague nature of the medical marijuana law. “It will be a headache for the courts to interpret and fill in the holes in the law,” he said.

 

Undersheriff Bob Rapson agrees, “Because the law is written vaguely, all the nuances of it have not been tested through the court system.” He also stresses the importance of complying with the smoking laws and using a designated “non-high” driver.

 

“It’s going to be an enforcement issue if (medicated patients) operate a motor vehicle,” Konschuh concurs.

 

Konschuh says that where there’s a valuable commodity, it has the potential to enhance criminal activity. So far, though, the new law does not seem to be driving such activity in the county.

 

Another area law enforcement will no doubt be keeping an eye on is the number of patients per caregiver.

 

“If they’re following the rules, I don’t have a concern,” Konschuh said of Dryden’s new dispensary. The word “dispensary” is not actually to be found in the language of the medical marijuana law. In Dryden Village’s new ordinance, it is defined as “any location providing Medical Marijuana to more than five qualified patients and/or caregivers.”

 

Even though Michigan has approved the medical marijuana law, federal law does not recognize medical marijuana. Attorney General Eric Holder last year suggested that the Department of Justice’s enforcement policy shifted towards only those dispensaries that use the medical marijuana laws as a shield for illegal trafficking.

 

For more information on the law and how to apply for ID cards, check out the Michigan Dept. of Community Health’s page on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program at www.michigan.gov.

 

. Since that time, the state government has issued about 11, 000 cards for medical marijuana patients and about 4, 000 cards for primary caregivers to grow the drug and supply it to patients.

well i think some body needs to tell the Truth

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Yup, they did that deliberately- Who do they think they're fooling?

 

Sb

 

Actually, the Village Council of Dryden has been very helpful with everything we are trying to do and we are happy to oblige with what they have asked of us so far, especially considering the fact they passed the ordinance 7 to 0. The current council members have really been amazing and engaged with trying to understand everything.

 

The one dispensary per thousand residents needs to be understood in context. If you have never been to Dryden, it is a one stop light town...literally...with one gas station, maybe two restaurants, a barber, a hair dresser, and a party store...and not much else. It's a great little town and to have even had the chance to open here is pretty surreal. However, you also need to keep know that there are two parts to Dryden for ordinance purposes; the Village and the Township.

 

The "Village" probably isn't even a square mile in area and only encompasses what would be considered "downtown". This area only has maybe 800 residents are really doesn't have a lot of extra room to grow without annexing more area. It is this area (and this area alone) that the new ordinance applies to. They also interpreted their new ordinance that only one dispensary can exist per 1000 residents. Therefore in order for another dispensary to open, the village population would need to reach roughly 2000 residents. Not that big of number if you live near a city, but in the tiny area considered our village it is a considerable number. It's one dispensary per thousand residents, counting up to the first thousand. (I might be wrong on my interpretation here, but it is how it was explained to me)

 

The Township of Dryden on the other hand is about 37 square miles in size and has considerably more residents. This is the area that basically makes up its school district size and borders up to the surrounding townships and villages. It has roughly 5000 residents (give or take depending on what the new census numbers will be) and basically has the village sitting in its center.

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so, i have a question?

 

has anyone compiled a listing of all of these "ordinances" as they are being passed across the state? i just heard somewhere that Plainfield Township is banning dispensaries altogether, but what does that mean to me, if I'm only a caregiver for my self and my elderly mother (we both have qualifying conditions), and i'm only "dispensing" within my own personal household? am I ok with that, and how exactly would anyone even notice?

 

what if i move to Grand Rapids, anyone know the regulations there? can you grow for your own family following the rules if you live in a school zone? the "medical room" is locked and inaccessible in the first place, right?

 

how in the world are we supposed to find out these things without going to the city and exposing ourselves to possible unintended legal problems? how can my personal medical information remain confidential if i have to discuss all this with the local government people? what if they like me ok now but then they don't if they find out my business? would they make me stop working with them on election days?

 

i don't want to become the village freakshow, but i do want to do the right thing. can anyone tell me what that is today, and if it will change tomorrow? thank you all very much for your time and consideration

 

faceted thoughts from jewelspirit

2010may14

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  • 2 weeks later...

so, i have a question?

 

has anyone compiled a listing of all of these "ordinances" as they are being passed across the state? i just heard somewhere that Plainfield Township is banning dispensaries altogether, but what does that mean to me, if I'm only a caregiver for my self and my elderly mother (we both have qualifying conditions), and i'm only "dispensing" within my own personal household? am I ok with that, and how exactly would anyone even notice?

 

what if i move to Grand Rapids, anyone know the regulations there? can you grow for your own family following the rules if you live in a school zone? the "medical room" is locked and inaccessible in the first place, right?

 

how in the world are we supposed to find out these things without going to the city and exposing ourselves to possible unintended legal problems? how can my personal medical information remain confidential if i have to discuss all this with the local government people? what if they like me ok now but then they don't if they find out my business? would they make me stop working with them on election days?

 

i don't want to become the village freakshow, but i do want to do the right thing. can anyone tell me what that is today, and if it will change tomorrow? thank you all very much for your time and consideration

 

faceted thoughts from jewelspirit

2010may14

 

STATE LAW TRUMPS (but get a written opinion from your Rep. or Senator -- send them a letter asking them to ask the Atty General.

 

Murph

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