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Michigan Municipalities Weigh Their Marijuana Options


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Medical marijuana still a major topic of debate in Michigan communities

  • By Mary Beth Spalding South Bend Tribune
  • Oct 22, 2017 Updated 5 hrs ago
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Medical marijuana still on the agenda in Michigan communities

A detail of a marijuana leaf is shown. Tribune File Photo

South Bend Tribune
 
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Medical marijuana has been on municipal agendas in Michigan a lot this year, and it could be intensifying in the days and weeks ahead.

On Monday night alone, three area municipalities will be discussing ordinances that could govern new medical marijuana businesses being allowed by the state, and possibly looking ahead to a series of hearings and meetings into November and December to finalize those regulations.

Meanwhile, would-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs await the local rules to finalize their plans. The state is set to start accepting applications for business licenses on Dec. 15.

 

But local units of government face no particular deadlines concerning opting in or approving ordinances, according to Catherine Mullhaupt, staff attorney for the Michigan Townships Association.

The state has been “scrambling for a year” to create the commercial system for medical marijuana "from scratch," said Mullhaupt.

“This is a huge undertaking,” she said.

Municipalities are conscious of the Dec. 15 date, but have been scrambling, too, so being ready by then isn’t their only consideration.

“We have too many questions,” said Galien Township Clerk Jennifer Richter.

Galien Township, like Buchanan and several other area municipalities, decided earlier this year to pursue opting into the state’s new system. Communities can choose to allow certain types of medical marijuana businesses and set ordinances to regulate them in conjunction with state law. The five types of businesses are growers, processors, secure transporters, testing facilities and retail dispensaries.

Richter said Galien Township might not have its ordinances finalized before the end of the year.

“The applicants can start applying to the state in December,” she said. “But we’re taking the time to do it right.”

Stephen Ratcliff, the project coordinator for MedFarm of Michigan, a proposed growing operation in Galien Township, said his group will be patient.

“We’d like it done by Dec. 15,” said Ratcliff. “But we’ll do it when they get it done. We decided we’re not going anywhere else.”

The Buchanan City Commission has more questions, too, about plans in its town.

City commissioners approved a medical marijuana policing ordinance back in July, setting the rules for the types of businesses allowed and how they can operate.

Buchanan City Manager Bill Marx had hoped the city might approve its zoning ordinance for medical marijuana on Oct. 9, but more questions arose. The city commission extended the public hearing on it to Monday night.

 

Would-be investors — he's heard from about four of them — are waiting for the city commission “to finalize things,” Marx said.

Buchanan

The city commission will continue its public hearing on medical marijuana zoning prior to the start of the commission meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 302 N. Redbud Trail. Among proposed changes, according to Marx, is not requiring a setback from parks where youth sports are played and allowing dispensaries to locate in the downtown commercial district as well as the uptown commercial district. The zoning amendment can be viewed on the city's website at www.cityofbuchanan.com. The commission could approve it Monday night.

Niles

The Niles City Council will have the first reading of its proposed medical marijuana opt-in ordinance at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the fire station complex, 1345 E. Main St. The council could have a second reading and adoption of the ordinance Nov. 13. The planning commission will look at the proposed zoning amendment Wednesday and possibly hold a public hearing on it Nov. 13. The council is tentatively set for a first reading of the zoning amendment Nov. 27, and second reading and possible adoption Dec. 11.

Galien Township

A special meeting of the planning commission will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Galien American Legion Post 344, 402 N. Main St. Township Clerk Richter said the purpose is to have more discussion about the proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance. A public hearing on the zoning ordinance could be set at the meeting, but Richter didn't know when it might come up for a vote. The township also continues to work on its police powers ordinance for medical marijuana businesses, which probably won't come up for a vote before December, Richter said.

Milton Township

Township Supervisor Robert Benjamin said the township trustees voted Tuesday night to approve an opt-in ordinance that allows three medical marijuana growers and three processors. The planning commission will work on zoning rules and probably will propose those amendments sometime in November, said Benjamin.

 
 
 
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Edited by Restorium2
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On 10/22/2017 at 7:22 AM, Restorium2 said:

Richter said Galien Township might not have its ordinances finalized before the end of the year.

“The applicants can start applying to the state in December,” she said. “But we’re taking the time to do it right.”

 

idiots, they cant get licensed with the state until they have local approval.

 

you'd think these people could read a 20 page law but noooo

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I would recommend against investing any type of money into a Cannabis-related business during this uncertain regulatory environment. Especially with cannabis remaining as a schedule 1 drug and Jefferson Sessions as Attorney General of the United States..

People are talking about a 130 acre grow near Lansing, when the Feds actively pursue grows over 100 plants. It doesn't add up. 

 

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4 minutes ago, mishigami bear said:

I would recommend against investing any type of money into a Cannabis-related business during this uncertain regulatory environment. Especially with cannabis remaining as a schedule 1 drug and Jefferson Sessions as Attorney General of the United States..

People are talking about a 130 acre grow near Lansing, when the Feds actively pursue grows over 100 plants. It doesn't add up. 

 

The Feds actively pursue grows over 100 plants? 

Example?

Any federal raids on medical grows you can link?

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Nothing Michigan specific.  There has long been  an "unwritten threshold" of 100 plants before the Feds to take interest. I found this from Safeaccessnow.org:

Quote

In United States v. Booker (2005), a Supreme Court decision from January 2005, the court ruled that the federal sentencing guidelines (as outlined above) are advisory and no longer mandatory. In addition to the sentencing guidelines, there are statutory mandatory minimum sentences, which remain in effect after United States v. Booker and primarily target offenses involving large amounts of cannabis. There is a five-year mandatory minimum for cultivation of 100 plants or possession of 100kgs, and there is a 10-year mandatory minimum for these offenses if the defendant has a prior felony drug conviction.

 

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I wasn't asking for Michigan specific I was letting you pick from any state you wanted lol.

Come on man, the fear mongering is really old at this point. I can only guess you are over the age of 50 and thus have the effects of the war on drugs clouding your judgment.

Do you realize there are hundreds if not thousands of 1000+ plant grows being grown legally all over the country?

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Experience with, and knowledge of, The War on Drugs clears your mind and makes you pay close attention. Greed clouds your judgement and makes wishful thinking rule the day. As we see with the long line of victims of the war, they all have one thing in common; They all were sure they would get away with it. Some to the point of saying that others were just fear mongering. It's a pattern you can't miss if you pay attention. 

 

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1 hour ago, bobandtorey said:

Walmart Joe 

Jerry Duval

the Lansing 7

You need more?

Yes, the key word was actively. I need some thing at least in the last five years for me to consider it active. You may feel different.

 

Look cops can frame anyone at anytime for anything they want to. You could also be shot at any time by a deranged lunitic. Question is how scared do you want to live your life.

Find your level of risk you are comfortable with and don't go beyond that, whether it be as a user, a caregiver or a complete abstainer. I know people that won't touch mmj because it is still federally illegal. If that is where you draw the line than so be it. Stay in your comfort zone.

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Come on man, the fear mongering is really old at this point. I can only guess you are over the age of 50 and thus have the effects of the war on drugs clouding your judgment.

I'm only 48, but you are correct... the war on drugs has indeed clouded my judgement. And if you think that war is over (100 plant limits no longer apply), then you are sadly mistaken. Look who is in power in the U.S. and in Michigan. Look who is Attorney General.

The fear mongering may feel "old". But it is the reality.

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On ‎10‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 1:03 PM, shishka said:

Yes, the key word was actively. I need some thing at least in the last five years for me to consider it active. You may feel different.

 

Look cops can frame anyone at anytime for anything they want to. You could also be shot at any time by a deranged lunitic. Question is how scared do you want to live your life.

Find your level of risk you are comfortable with and don't go beyond that, whether it be as a user, a caregiver or a complete abstainer. I know people that won't touch mmj because it is still federally illegal. If that is where you draw the line than so be it. Stay in your comfort zone.

The way I see it is that you should be able to have your arse completely covered for every eventuality if you are going to assume that kind of risk. 

If you are posting on here that you can't afford health insurance for your family then you should think about whether you are in a position of strength for this kind of endeavor.

If you can't afford Obamacare then you can't afford an attorney on retainer. 

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