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Utica-Marijuana Businesses Banned From Utica For At Least A Year

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Utica-Marijuana Businesses Banned From Utica For At Least A Year


The city of Utica is not looking to set an example on how it deals with medical marijuana facilities that open within its borders.


The council on Aug. 10 unanimously decided it wants to see how other municipalities will handle the situation during the next year as more marijuana businesses open shop throughout the state.


Utica voted to enact a one-year moratorium on any marijuana business in the city.


Although medical marijuana is now a legal form of medicine in Michigan for cancer patients, and people with glaucoma and chronic pain, cities are banning the dispensaries - shops that are set up as pharmacies for people who have prescriptions to ingest it.


Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan attended a mayor's conference earlier this month and the issue was brought up by other concerned elected officials who said the state law that legalizes medical marijuana is still very vague. So the issue to place a moratorium was placed on the Utica agenda a few days before the council meeting.


No one in the city came to the meeting to support or oppose the issue. The moratorium can be lifted at any time, but its purpose is to give city officials time to observe and research how municipalities are handling it.


"We have been inundated with calls from groups who want to do things here," Utica City Clerk Catherine McGrail said. "One man wanted to open a place where patients can gather. Well, in the old days, we called that a pot house."


Others have contacted the city to inquire about setting up legitimate dispensaries or stores that sell growing equipment since people with a prescription are permitted to grow their own plants for medicinal use. However, the council said the state law needs to be clarified further so cities know how to handle the situation legally.


Livonia was one of the first cities to pass a similar moratorium. Birmingham, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley and Bloomfield Township quickly followed suit. Many of the medical marijuana schools where caregivers, caregiver hopefuls and patients learn to grow are located in Southfield. Ferndale has at least one dispensary, but the city has since placed a moratorium on adding more. Huntington Woods chose a looser stance where it passed a law that restricts dispensaries to the city's business district.


Since voters approved medical marijuana statewide, approximately 21,000 Michiganians have received cards permitting them to possess it under state law. Nearly 9,000 other people are registered as caregivers - which means they can grow marijuana for a limited number of people.


Utica Police Chief Michael Reaves, said along with other police officials statewide, the department would follow state law on handling the issue. Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but late last year President Barack Obama ordered federal authorities not to pursue users or suppliers who are complying with state laws. Obama's policy is opposite of the previous administration, which routinely worked to override state laws, arresting caregivers who had state-issued cards.


Michigan is one of 14 states that has legalized marijuana for medicinal uses. In November, California voters will determine whether to legalize it for recreational use for adults 21 and older so it can collect tax dollars. Legislators in Rhode Island are considering a similar plan, possibly for adults 18 years and older, as a way to collect tax monies. It would not be legal to smoke marijuana in public or where minors are present.


Michael A. Komorn

Attorney and Counselor

Law Office of Michael A. Komorn

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This is a defeat in my eyes I wonder if the city kept this hidden from the agenda until a few hours before the meeting, like Waterford did. People cant be there if they don't know. Just seems like there would have been some kind of turn out if it had been known.



Mary J

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im from utica, its such a small community, there is already a cc (macomb county compassion club) within a mile of the city limits in sterling heights, lets show some support for them and perhaps they can set an example that utica can follow. im still waiting to find out shelby twp stance, im wondering if it it different, although they share a zipcode. :)

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Is Macomb County Compassion Club a dispensary?


I know it has no affiliation with the Macomb Oakland Compassion Club.

who cares about the MOCC..blah, blah....they just wish they had a Dispensary.....instead they have all there lil gatherings to make money and make connects and conduct business same way as everyone else is doingthey just hide behind the cc branding.


In my opinion a TRUE CC does 100% of everything I mean everying for NO COST. Thats true compassion.

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