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Brighton City Council Passes Medical Marijuana Ordinance

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Brighton, MI--Brighton City Council voted to approve an ordinance allowing primary caregivers of patients who use medical marijuana to work in residential areas.

The council voted 5-2 in favor of the ordinance at its meeting Thursday night, with Mayor Ricci Bandkau and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Bohn voting against it. The ordinance takes effect 15 days from its enactment, City Clerk Diana Lowe said.

The ordinance is actually an amendment to an existing city zoning law redefining the terms for home occupation. It includes new regulations and guidelines specifically for primary caregivers, permitting them to work out of their homes in residential areas. The ordinance ruled out the establishment of commercialized medical marijuana dispensaries or collectives in the city.

The move to regulate medical marijuana use in Brighton is the culmination of months of planning by the city staff and the Planning Commission, City Attorney Brad Maynes said. However, several people at the meeting were reluctant to adopting the ordinance right away.

The council held a public hearing before its discussion on the ordinance. Only one person out of the handful of people present spoke: Doug Orton, president of the Brighton Area Compassion Club.

He disagreed with the ordinance requiring police and fire department inspections of any structural changes to primary caregivers' homes, inspections that Maynes said are required before primary caregivers can begin their growing operations.

Orton asked the council to table their decision, suggesting they wait for the state to make proposed changes and clarifications to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

When the City Council resumed their discussion, it appeared the ordinance had a good chance of being delayed, with talk of passing a third moratorium on medical marijuana-related business. The current moratorium was set to end Sept. 3, according to a previous Patch article.

Many council members were still concerned about having the medical marijuana operations in residential areas, and the prospect of the state setting guidelines on the law seemed tempting enough to delay the passing of the ordinance.

"With where we're at right now, I'm not sure if it would belong in residential areas," Bohn said. "I agree with the gentleman's (Orton's) comments about potentially delaying it until we hear from our legislators."

However, several council members pointed out that whether they passed an ordinance setting up guidelines for medical marijuana or not, the state law still was in effect.

"Even if we did nothing, by law, people in the city of Brighton can grow plants either for themselves or, if they're a caregiver, plants for their patients," Councilmember Claudia Roblee said.

According to the policy report prepared by Acting Planning & Zoning Director Amy Cyphert in the city council meeting packet, the ordinance "will provide additional guidance beyond the state law on how these home occupation operations are handled within the city of Brighton."

Roblee asked Maynes about the legality of beginning another moratorium. Maynes said that the longer a moratorium is, the harder it is to defend legally. Maynes also reassured the council about passing an ordinance ahead of any legislative decision or court rulings on the medical marijuana laws.

"We can never make something legal that state law makes illegal," Maynes said. He said Brighton would be one of several communities that would have to go back to make possible revisions to their ordinances.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: brighton.patch.com
Author: Jacob Kanclerz
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Patch
Website: Brighton City Council Passes Medical Marijuana Ordinance
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