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Kalamazoo Township Approves Moratorium On Dispensing Medical Marijuana

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Kalamazoo Township approves moratorium on dispensing medical marijuana

Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 12:05 AM Updated: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 12:07 AM

David T. Young | Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette




KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP — Despite protests from about two dozen people at a public hearing Tuesday night, the Kalamazoo Township Board unanimously voted for a six-month moratorium on selling and dispensing marijuana in the township.


Township Attorney Kenneth Sparks said about 30 municipalities in Michigan have similar moratoriums in the wake of state voters’ approval nearly two years ago of a law legalizing use of marijuana for approved medical reasons.






Sparks said the delay would give township officials time to “determine the most appropriate way to address these issues... give them further time to study the matter, up to six months, and then adopt an ordinance.”


A public hearing on the moratorium drew about 25 people, most associated with a local “compassion” center that helps certified medical marijuana patients gain information and secure the substance.


Moratorium opponents essentially objected by arguing the delay:


• Could make it more difficult for patients to obtain marijuana and therefore cause them to seek out underground drug dealers.


• Could create a chilling effect on serving patients because current regulations call for caregivers to register with the local police chief.


• May be just another tactic to circumvent the wishes of the people, 63 percent of whom statewide voted in favor of the medical marijuana ballot issue in November 2008.


Chris Chiles told the board, “There are already caregivers in the township” who might now be deemed illegal with the moratorium, and he and others asked for “grandfathering,” or allowing them to continue the work they’re already doing.


“I want to be able to provide for patients in great need,” Chiles said, “but I won’t be able to provide a legal market for patients.”


Nick Lester, who said he also works through the compassion center on East Main Street, said, “This moratorium is circumventing the law approved by the citizens of Michigan.”

Several people spoke on behalf of family and loved ones using marijuana to cope with pain or with nausea from chemotherapy treatments.


Rebecca McKenzie said her son died after injesting Oxycontin for pain when marijuana would have been less dangerous and just as effective.


“If you enact this, you’re going to prohibit some people from getting help” for six more months, she said. “This drug is benign. It hasn’t killed anybody.”


Dave Hudson said he was hospitalized 15 times after having gall bladder problems, but since he has used marijuana he has only had to go to the hospital three times.


“There are a lot more people drunk driving than using marijuana,” he said. “Alcohol is legal, but it’s a lot more dangerous.”


Mike Brubaker told the board his wife suffers from chronic pain and she’s been trying to wean herself off pain pills and is thinking about switching to use of marijuana.


Before the vote was taken, Board Trustee Mark Miller noted the township attorney amended the moratorium to try to better accommodate caregivers and it does not require them to give their names to police, only the location and property description to alert authorities to which practices are legal.


Sparks warned board members, “You can’t adopt this and then not study and work due diligence toward resolution of this issue.”




Michael A. Komorn

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so the moratorium now makes caregivers register with local police? wouldn't that be public record??? "we don't need your name, just listing your address publicly and we'll let nature run it's course."

and i thought the kalamazoo area was more progressive than the buckle of the bible belt, Grand rapids.


so it sounds like they adopted this because 30 other communities have???? stupid. get a thought of your own board members.

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