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Hazel Park To Decide Rules For Medical Pot Businesses

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Hazel Park to decide rules for medical pot businesses

Published: Wednesday, August 04, 2010


By Michael P. McConnell
Daily Tribune Staff Writer


HAZEL PARK -- With more than a dozen medical marijuana businesses considering Hazel Park as a potential location, city officials this month are expected to decide how to regulate marijuana outlets in the city.

"We want to comply with the new state medical marijuana law," said City Manager Ed Klobucher, "but we also want to make sure we're not promoting recreational use of marijuana."

Ferndale and Royal Oak have enacted moratoriums on medical marijuana businesses while officials there try to determine how to deal with the issue. Several cities have banned such operations outright while others have passed zoning ordinances limiting where medical pot outlets can operate.

Klobucher admits that Hazel Park is in limbo on the question until the City Council makes a final decision.

"Until we develop an ordinance, we're saying these businesses are not permitted here," he said.

Hazel Park council members have been divided on the issue, though it appears likely a majority prefer to allow the businesses under an ordinance limiting their location.

"We will probably allow some form of (marijuana) growing facility in our manufacturing district," said Councilman Andy LeCureaux. "Patients would be allowed into the facility to make transactions with caregivers, but would not be allowed to congregate and use marijuana at the site."

Councilman Mike Webb said he is alone among elected officials in favoring a citywide ban on marijuana businesses. 

"The way the law is worded leaves too many loopholes for abuse," he said, adding that he believes marijuana businesses will create problems for law enforcement officers. 

Still, Webb said he has had to compromise with others on the City Council in an effort to resolve the issue.

Klobucher, accompanied by two other City Hall workers, visited a marijuana dispensary and clinic last week in Ferndale called Clinical Relief. The clinic opened before Ferndale officials enacted a 90-day moratorium on pot businesses in June.

"We showed up there unannounced," Klobucher said. "The people we saw there approached it in a very clinical and professional manner. I'd like to get a few of our council members over there to see it."

LeCureaux favors allowing dispensaries in a limited area on John R in the city's business district. However, he would like to prohibit the dispensaries from growing or allowing the use of marijuana on site.

Medical marijuana is spurring business in three areas --- growing operations, dispensaries and equipment sales for marijuana cultivation.

Under the law, caregivers are allowed to have up to six patients and can grow up to 12 plants for each patient. In large growing operations, a number of caregivers operate under one roof to grow the product.

Other cities like Troy, Livonia and Birmingham have banned medical marijuana. A common objection to state medical marijuana laws is that federal law, which supersedes state laws, still prohibits the use and possession of marijuana under any circumstances.

Michigan is one of 15 states with a medical marijuana law.

"We're doing the research and hope to make a decision on what is in the best interests of our community," Klobucher said.

Contact Michael P. McConnell at mike.mcconnell@dailytribune.com or at (586) 783-0269.


Michael A. Komorn

Attorney and Counselor

Law Office of Michael A. Komorn

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