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Birmingham Ponders Where To Allow Medical Marijuana Facilities To Locate

The General

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Birmingham is in the process of allowing medical marijuana facilities to operate in the city's Rail District. On Wednesday, the Planning Board voted 6-0 to amend local zoning ordinances and allow medical marijuana establishments as a permitted use. The amendment still needs to go before the City Commission before it's finalized. Up to now, Birmingham has resisted allowing such facilities to open in the city on the grounds that marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under federal law. Last year, however, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled municipalities must follow provisions relating to the state's Medical Marijuana Act and allow for the facilities. "They don't tell us where or how we need to control it," Ecker said of the facilities. "But we have to make a provision to allow it somewhere."

The city decided on the Rail District as the sole location for allowing the facilities. The district is an industrial/commercial section of Birmingham that's located along the east side of Eton between Maple and Lincoln. In terms of geography, the district has the railroad tracks to the east, no single-family housing and is located next to the police shooting range at Kenning Park. "It's difficult to get in and out of there and there's usually police in the area because of the shooting range," Ecker said.

City Attorney Tim Currier said the facilities will operate essentially as a warehouse for growing medical marijuana. They will not operate as dispensaries, where someone from the public with medical marijuana can walk in and purchase cannabis. "The only people with access will be patients and caregivers," he said, adding a caregiver can grow up to 12 plants per patient and have up to five patients. His biggest concern about allowing the warehouses is crime. Currier noted a warehouse opened in Troy recently and was broken into right away.

"We're not concerned about the medical marijuana user who might have cancer and is using marijuana inside their home," he said. "Our concern is the larger operations attract crime." Under the ordinance amendment, the medical marijuana in Birmingham will operate under Special Land Use Permits (SLUP) which gives the city more control over the operation. Members of the planning board passed the amendment with few questions, since the issue was already vetted by the city attorney. Ecker said not accommodating the use would likely result in a lawsuit against the city. She also emphasized the facilities will not sell to the general public. "It's not like a member of the public can buy something off the shelf," she said.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Hometownlife.com
Author: Jay Grossman
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Website: Birmingham ponders where to allow medical marijuana facilities to locate
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