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Battle Creek Hears Pitch For Medical Marijuana

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Battle Creek hears pitch for medical marijuana

Barrett Newkirk • The Enquirer • August 20, 2010

Proponents of medical marijuana are asking the city of Battle Creek not to be overly restrictive with any new regulations of the sometimes legal drug.



The city is in the middle of a six-month freeze on new businesses related to medical marijuana.

City officials are using the moratorium to buy some time before deciding what kind of rules, such as special zoning ordinances, to impose on medical marijuana growers and other related operations.

On Thursday, 20 people showed up for a meeting at City Hall meant to give them a chance to offer input on any planned regulations.

Most of the people who spoke during the hour-long meeting encouraged the city to honor the intent of the state law and not to restrict marijuana for people using it for serious medical conditions.

Shawn Cain said marijuana has been the only successful treatment for her long list of ailments, which includes chronic inflammatory disease, lupus and rapid weight loss.

"While there may be other medications out there," Cain said, "they don't always work, and for a lot of conditions they don't work at all."

Sherii Sherban said she was concerned about the safety of other people who may encounter medical marijuana users while doing things like driving. She wasn't asking for a repeal of the law, but she said she wanted the city to find a way to be responsible with it.

"Don't be hasty," she said. "Be sure that we're looking at it from all angles."

Approved by voters in 2008, Michigan's medical marijuana law sets up a process for licensing medical marijuana growers and users, but it offers no real guidance on how cities should handle issues like where medical marijuana collectives and home-based growers can operate.

Some communities have gone so far as to ban medical marijuana, noting that it is still illegal under federal law. Other communities are doing nothing for now or passing short-term moratoriums.

Battle Creek's moratorium went into effect in July. The city of Marshall passed its own six-month freeze later that same month.

Any ordinance in Battle Creek will ultimately come down to a vote by the City Commission. The city's planning commission may also weigh in on any zoning-related rules.

Battle Creek officials are hoping to have an ordinance in place by January.

Barrett Newkirk can be reached at 966-0692 or bnewkirk@gannett.com.


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