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Local Medical Marijuana Law On Its Way In Fenton


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Fenton — City officials voted to extend the moratorium on medical marijuana in the city until Sept. 1 — but it’s probably the last time.

 At the work session on Monday, Fenton City Council discussed a draft ordinance with attorney Chris Patterson who was filling in for city attorney Stephen Schultz.

The current moratorium is expiring soon, and the draft basically isn’t ready yet. Patterson suggested they extend the moratorium to take input on the new ordinance.

Council isn’t sure when it will appear on the agenda for a vote.

Fenton has passed moratoriums for the past several years while waiting for clarification through ensuing court cases of the Medical Marihuana Act of 2008.

 With cases like Ter Beek v The city of Wyoming, Fenton City is now on the cusp of passing its own ordinance on the growing, and selling of medical marijuana in the city.

After the vote, Councilman Les Bland made it clear he wanted to see the ordinance enacted before Sept 1. “We kind of tend to drag this stuff out,” he said.

The council discussed the details of the Medical Marihuana Act of 2008, and the court cases since that have clarified the responsibilities and limitations of local governments. Council was also given perspective on what is feasible for a grow business in Fenton. The city can limit through zoning ordinances where a grow operation can go.

Cannabis attorney Denise Pollicella was present to offer some advice to council, as she represents three clients interested in opening an operation in the city. She applauded the council for taking up the issue, adding that although she wants medical marijuana legal, she also wants growers to have local laws to follow.

She suggested city officials watch House Bill 4271, which would lift some limitations on the current state law, and gear their ordinance to that. Patterson said the city can opt out of the bill’s provisions, should it become a law.

What does the Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 do?

 An initiation of legislation to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana; to provide protections for the medical use of marihuana; to provide for a system of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers; to impose a fee for registry application and renewal; to provide for the promulgation of rules; to provide for the administration of this act; to provide for enforcement of this act; to provide for affirmative defenses; and to provide for penalties for violations of this act.

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  • 6 months later...

FENTON, MI – Medical marijuana patients may grow their own at home, but if they want to raise a crop for others, they'll have to find space in the city's industrial or commercial districts, according to a proposed new ordinance.

The proposal has some medical marijuana advocates seeing red.

Under the proposed ordinance, caregivers will only be able to grow for one person in a residential home.



Michigan law allows caregivers to grow up to 12 plants for each of six patients, including themselves.

But if the Fenton City Council moves forward with the proposed ordinance, caregivers will be allowed to grow only 12 plants at home and at each of the homes of patients. If they want to grow more under one roof, they would have to move to a commercial or industrial area where they would be allowed to grow a total of 72 plants.

"People will be allowed to grow up to 72 plants in an industrial district," said Fenton's attorney, Stephen Schultz. "If a caregiver is engaged in a business, then they need to carry that business in another district and not a residential area. It's really a zoning issue."

Schultz said the proposal was made for various reasons, including safety and best use.

"(Growing marijuana) brings with it lots of other issues," Schultz said. "There could be many, many issues. It could be a question of safety, humidity, ventilation, electrical use and whether people are coming and goring.

"There isn't another industry that is required to operate in a closed (and) locked facility as a matter of law. To be honest, you can't compare it to someone working on accounting books from home," he said. "That doesn't present anywhere the same issues as trying to operate a medical marijuana business out the back of your house."

Bruce Leach, a Grand Blanc attorney specializing in medical marijuana cases, says the ordinance violates Michigan's medical marijuana law.

"It's clearly unconstitutional," Leach said. "I don't believe they can restrict a caregiver to only growing for one person in a residential area. Fenton is going to open themselves up for lawsuits. This is clearly someone's misinterpretation of their power. It is an erroneous ordinance in many ways. State law trumps this."

Under Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act, caregivers are allowed to grow up to 12 plants per person they are caring for. This means a person can grow for up to six people including themselves and grow a maximum of 72 plants.

"The medical marijuana act is very clear," Leach said. "In that regard, there isn't anything a local ordinance can do to violate that. This is a clear conflict between what the state law permits. It does not say, 'immune except for Fenton's ordinance.'"

Leach added that under Michigan's law anyone arrested for growing more than the 12 allowed plants in Fenton's proposed ordinance would be immune from charges.

"You are really infringing on people's civil liberties at this point," he said. "It is completely protected under state law."

A draft of the proposed ordinance was given to the city council at its Jan. 5 work session packet.

City Clerk Renee Wilson said city leaders are not finished with the proposed ordinance.

"They want to review ordinances in other areas," Wilson said. "They are not moving forward with that item yet."

Schultz is standing by the proposed ordinance.

"There's no conflict with state laws," he said. "We're not doing anything to try to prohibit medical marijuana, because the state law says medical marijuana is going to be here. If a caregiver is growing for him or herself, the caregiver can only grow 12 plants in a residential district."

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/01/a_proposed_fenton_marijuana_or.html

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Cannabis attorney Denise Pollicella was present to offer some advice$$$ to council, as she represents three clients interested in opening an operation$$ in the city. She applauded the council for taking up the issue, adding that although she wants medical marijuana legal, she also wants growers to have local laws to follow.


She suggested city officials watch House Bill 4271,


 


 


 


The local laws she has instigated are pushing out her three dispensary clients competition by making it so home grows can't be sold, only grown and consumed by one patient. More dispensary interests (the filthy animals) trying to kill home grows. 

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"If a caregiver is growing for him or herself, the caregiver can only grow 12 plants in a residential district."

 

 

so according to them, if your a patient, your a cg to yourself if you grow..There sadly confused about this.. no wonder this is taking them so long to figure out!

That's the way they are writing their ordinance after careful schooling by the dispensary attorney. 

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How does this work in mi... if they institute new zoning & code, what happens to a pre-existing grow? Are they 'grandfathered' in (exempt), or must they comply w the new regradless of any hardship?

 

But just to play devil's advocate (as I come from a place that highly regulated w zoning/code), a person could put 12 plants under 12 lights and call that a personal grow, which would be on scale w those they are trying to prohibit. Just the same, another grower could put 64 plants under 4 lights, which would be smaller & more reasonable in a house. Really, if they want to limit 'scale', they need to focus on light counts, not plants.

 

And just to say, if they allow the assumption that a cg grow can/will/should be run/considered a business enterprise, then I should hope they also support this... biz licenses, taxes, city attny's protections, alarm permits w the cops, etc. They should protect those businesses just as they choose to endorse & regulate.

Edited by Indigro
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How does this work in mi... if they institute new zoning & code, what happens to a pre-existing grow? Are they 'grandfathered' in (exempt), or must they comply w the new regradless of any hardship?

 

But just to play devil's advocate (as I come from a place that highly regulated w zoning/code), a person could put 12 plants under 12 lights and call that a personal grow, which would be on scale w those they are trying to prohibit. Just the same, another grower could put 64 plants under 4 lights, which would be smaller & more reasonable in a house. Really, if they want to limit 'scale', they need to focus on light counts, not plants.

 

And just to say, if they allow the assumption that a cg grow can/will/should be run/considered a business enterprise, then I should hope they also support this... biz licenses, taxes, city attny's protections, alarm permits w the cops, etc. They should protect those businesses just as they choose to endorse & regulate.

Right. Someone(dispensary advocate) will mention that and they will make sure it's a single patient grow all going to one patient. That's their intent so they will fudge it all around until they get the words to fit the intent. 

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How does this work in mi... if they institute new zoning & code, what happens to a pre-existing grow? Are they 'grandfathered' in (exempt), or must they comply w the new regradless of any hardship?

see, you are using logic. you know theres no logic in government.

 

the problem is these "fill in the blank" ordinances are being written up by the michigan municipal league , why? i have no idea. the MML filed a brief in terbeek and lost handidly. all of these ordinances are not valid against the MMMA law.

 

just a big waste of time to show that these cities need to pay the MML more for more ordinances that havent been tested in court and will fail in court, costing the city more to defend bad ordinances. you know that your city probably pays $5000 per year to the MML so it can have these ready made ordinances?

 

you think MML has learned anything since ter beek? not with that idiot paragraph at the end of that opinion.

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Last week’s work session discussion with the Fenton City Council saw the issue to return to limbo while the long-lasting moratorium was extended once more. However, Monday’s city council meeting saw the ordinance return, instead of the moratorium, at the request of city attorney Steve Schultz.

“The reason I asked that this come back to the council is we have a moratorium that expired on Feb. 1,” said Schultz. “I think we were entirely justified in continuing that moratorium until the law was settled. If we fail to act, fail to put some regulation in place, people could argue medical marijuana could be grown anywhere in the city.”

 

The main concern discussed at last week’s work session was the aspect of the ordinance that allowed for designated caregivers to grow medical marijuana in their own home for a patient with a medical marijuana license. This was removed from the ordinance.

With the court cases recently settled, there is no one universal ordinance that all municipalities in Michigan have adopted. Councilwoman Pat Lockwood asked if the council should feel comfortable moving forward with the ordinance while the issue seems to be changing on a daily basis.

Schultz attempted to answer this question; “The question we have to ask ourselves is on what basis should it be allowed? We think this is a good starting point for addressing that. You can always come back and address the ordinance if you find some things are working or some things are not.”

With the issue of caregivers growing medical marijuana in their own home being removed from the picture, the topic of debate shifted. This time, the area of debate was if the city should allow medical marijuana to be grown in apartments. Council members’ opinions clashed on what action should be taken.

Councilwoman Cheryl King was the first to speak against allowing medical marijuana cultivation in apartment buildings.

Councilman Bradley Jacob was in favor of the ordinance. “If this (ordinance) were to get more restrictive than this, I will probably vote no,” said Jacob. “Personally I would rather leave that up to the owners of the apartments. They are perfectly able to restrict that themselves.”

Councilman Les Bland was in favor of also leaving the option up to the landlords themselves. “We are starting to pick and choose what’s a residence and what’s not a residence. You have senior housing, you have condos all over town,” Bland said. “If you’re going to do residential, do residential, and see where it falls.”

Agreeing with Bland was Councilman David McDermott. “I think we need to do it by zone. If it’s residential, here are the limits. If it’s commercial or industrial, here are the limits, because I think that is in the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish. We’re talking about zoning issues not my personal issues on marijuana,” he said. “I think we need to leave apartments up to the landlords themselves.”

Mayor Sue Osborn believed that if the ordinance was passed as is, and medical marijuana cultivation was allowed in apartments, there was a possibility that it would promote illegal selling of medical marijuana.

Councilman Scott Grossmeyer disagreed. “I think we’re keeping honest people honest with the ordinance. The people that are going to grow marijuana to sell it to people aren’t going to do it under this ordinance. They are doing it anyway,” he said.

Lockwood expressed interest in looking to see how other municipalities have handled medical marijuana ordinances regarding apartments.

“I feel like I am being pushed into this without seeing what other communities have done,” Osborn said.

While a motion to vote on the ordinance was made and seconded, it was superseded by a motion to table the vote until Jan. 26. The vote passed 6-1, with Jacob casting the dissenting vote, as he approved of the ordinance as it was currently drafted.

“We have talked hours on this,” Bland said. “We have to make some decision on the 26th.”

 

http://www.tctimes.com/news/fenton-finally-to-vote-on-medical-marijuana-ordinance/article_aecac0d4-9bf6-11e4-bac5-3bd3187d6f5d.html

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“I feel like I am being pushed into this without seeing what other communities have done,” Osborn said.

 

This person is NOT qualified to lead a community. I wonder if she can handle a checkbook let alone the challenges that face a mayor. All of these people are obstructionists violating the rights of every person they represent.

 

They are blocking MEDICINE as defined by the State of Michigan. How does the city of fenton think it has attained the power to deny civil liberties that the State has granted? The Mayor needs to be removed, council disbanded and new elections held. In the meantime the MMMA takes effect as is the will of the people.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fenton — After weeks of debate covering where medical marijuana should be able to be grown, and who should be able to grow it, the city of Fenton has finally ended its five-year long moratorium on medical marijuana, and adopted an ordinance outlining how it can be grown.

 The ordinance allows for those with a medical marijuana license to grow 12 plants in their own home. The ordinance would also allow for growing facilities in the city’s industrial park

 

See marijuana on 2

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that would allow a caregiver to grow up to 12 plants, and outlines the restrictions on such facilities, including the requirement that they are subject to regular inspections.

 The growing of medical marijuana must take place indoors in an enclosed, locked facility.

 A growing facility must be located at least 1,000 feet away from any school, day care, church or religious facility, and is allowed to only grow up to 60 plants — or enough for five patients. According to the ordinance, the owner running the facility must also have the name and address of those patients.

 An initial draft of the ordinance allowed for designated caregivers to grow up to 12 plants in their own home for a patient with a medical marijuana license, although this was removed after some council members voiced concern.

 The ordinance was passed in a 5-2 vote. The dissenting votes were cast by Mayor Sue Osborn and Councilwoman Cheryl King.

 “I can’t vote for the ordinance with (growing) being allowed in apartment buildings,” Osborn said. “There are too many small children running around there.”

 King agreed with the Mayor’s sentiments.

 Councilwoman Pat Lockwood thanked the attorneys and the council for having a long discussion on the issue. “Everyone had concerns and pros or cons. We really looked into it pretty hard,” she said.

 For over five years, a moratorium had been placed and extended in lieu of passing an ordinance while the city waited on the results of court cases in the Michigan Supreme Court, which would decide the legality of medical marijuana. While the passing of this ordinance may seem like the end of a very long chapter for the city, it may not be entirely over yet.

 The city received a letter from the Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan which read, “While we appreciate the city of Fenton’s efforts to provide a framework for cultivating medical marihuana here, the proposed ordinance severely restricts, and therefore directly conflicts with and violates, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in numerous places.” The letter argues that the city’s violations come from the restrictions regarding how and where medical marijuana can be cultivated, the storage of medical marijuana, the indoors restriction, as well as the restrictions placed on caregivers. The letter continues, “We urge the City to carefully consider revising its proposed ordinance to conform with existing state law, in the hope that it will avoid the vigorous legal challenges that will most certainly follow.”

 The city council said they would be passing the letter on to the city’s attorneys.

 

http://www.tctimes.com/news/fenton-adopts-medical-marijuana-ordinance/article_029cc01e-a6f5-11e4-a966-4b632a4013b6.html

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