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Howell Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium Extended

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Howell has extended its moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries for another three months pending action by the state Legislature.

The city first enacted the moratorium in March.

“At the time that was based on a (Michigan) court ruling that said we couldn’t ban them outright,” City Manager Shea Charles said.

The original six-month moratorium, Charles said, was designed to give the city time to draft regulatory standards of its own.

The extension, however, stems from action underway in the state Legislature.

“We hope that there will be something by September,” Charles said.

No dispensaries currently operate in Howell.

Local attorney Denise Pollicella, who specializes in medical marijuana cases, said she expects action by the Legislature won’t clarify all issues.

“I tell my clients it will be the beginning of a big, messy period regarding regulations,” Pollicella said. “But it will be better than what we have now.”

Regulatory power over dispensaries has been in dispute since Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana in 2008.

Six years in, it remains unclear whether municipalities have any regulatory power over the dispensaries.

The state House this year approved legislation that would allow communities to authorize and regulate dispensaries, called called provisioning centers.

That bill, HB 4271, passed 95-14, but has yet to be approved by the state Senate.



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