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Council approves zoning ordinance for marijuana:


By Jon Szerlag

Ionia Sentinel Standard

Posted Dec 07, 2010 @ 11:04 PM




IONIA, Mich. —


After two moratoriums and lengthy discussions in Ionia’s Planning Commission and council chambers, Ionia City Council members approved zoning ordinances for medical marijuana use at Tuesday’s meeting.


The vote was 6 to 3, with council members John Milewski, Gordon Kelley and deputy mayor Kim Patrick voting against the proposal.


Before voting, council members heard a presentation and were able to ask questions of representatives from the Hubbard Law Firm from Lansing.


Kelley said he felt that after hearing the presentation and receiving more information, planning commission members could have further defined the ordinances with a second moratorium, which would not end until March.


“I would like to see if we could send this back to the planning commission to tighten it up,” said Kelley. I think, given the legal information we have, we can get those hammered down.”


Council members have spent nearly a year discussing the “Medical Marihuana Act.”


The ordinance will regulate marijuana use in the city by not allowing marijuana facilities in all zoning districts, and it can only be transferred between a qualifying patients living in the same dwelling, or a primary caregiver and the registered qualifying patients.


It is only allowed in a one-family, two-family or multiple-family dwelling, and no more than 72 plants can be cultivated in any unit. Plants can also only be cultivated in an enclosed locked facility and plants cannot be visible from the exterior of the building.


Marijuana may not be cultivated in an accessory structure like a detached garage, shed, greenhouse or barn.


“We are not prohibiting, but we are zoning it,” said council member Matt Johnson.


Even though the ordinance was approved, the planning commission can still look at amending the zoning regulations to be more specific.


“We have spent a year, we did not rush into this, and we are getting valuable input tonight,” said Ionia Mayor Dan Balice. “To me, this is hard. (Residents across the state) overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana, and we have to as a council (regulate). I think we are regulating it as safe as we can.”

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