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Elmwood May Regulate Marijuana Alan Campbelllocal Government

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Elmwood may regulate marijuana Alan CampbellLocal Government



Friday, December 17, 2010 - 1:00am | Alan Campbell

Supported by an opinion from its attorney and prompted by an anonymous inquiry, the Elmwood Township Board has placed a moratorium on the establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary as allowed under a statewide referendum approved in 2008.


The six-month moratorium, approved by a 4-2 vote Monnday with trustees Don Gallagher and Terry Lautner opposed, will give board members time to consider whether Elmwood should regulate medical marijuana distribution though its zoning ordinance.


Gallagher and Lautner didn’t need more time to reach a conclusion.


“We’re not going to enforce it at the township level, that would be the Sheriff...we don’t even need it in the zoning ordinance,” said Lautner. “If someone wants to do it, let them do it.”


While townships may not prohibit the dispensaries, they are allowed to limit where medical marijuana can be sold to certain zoning districts.


Some township board members, however, believe the township must make room in its ordinance for the distribution of medical marijuana.


“It is required by us to put it in the ordinance so it’s an allowed use,” said clerk Connie Preston.

“I don’t think we really need to do anything,” disagreed Gallagher.


However, supervisor Jack Kelly said by not passing the ordinance, the township would be making a de facto decision to allow medical marijuana sales anywhere in the township that is allowed by state regulations. “We won’t have a say in regulation,” he said.


The discusion and opinion from township attorney Jim Young was prompted by an inquiry at the township office.


“One week ago, Elmwood township was approached by an individual asking whether we had any zoning regulations in effect governing the use and dispensing of medical marijuana,” Kelly wrote in a memo to the board.


As of Monday, Elmwood has more than regulations. It has a moratorium — and mixed feelings about how deeply the township should delve into regulating Michigan’s newest cash crop.


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