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Brighton Looks to Amend Pot Rules

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Brighton is looking to adopt rules restricting medical marijuana use to residential areas as the community moves forward with complying with voter-approved state law.

In November 2008, over 60 percent of Michigan voters approved a measure allowing the use and cultivation of marijuana for specific medical conditions, even though the drug is still illegal under federal laws. However, numerous local governmental bodies have complained the state provided no guidelines on how to oversee the use of medical marijuana.

Since August, Brighton has maintained a temporary moratorium on issuing permits or certificates for places that sell or dispense medical marijuana as city officials worked out a process for administering the new law.

On Thursday, the City Council will hold its first reading of ordinance amendments at its 7:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

"What the city is trying to provide is some regulation," said Steve Monet, chairman of the Planning Commission.

Although he's personally opposed to the medical marijuana law, Monet said the city's proposal is the best way to deal with it. He said he doesn't believe there is any condition that can't be treated through traditional medical practices.

"What we're attempting to achieve here is to make it as less intrusive and less onerous on neighbors nearby," Monet said.

While some communities allow medical marijuana shops in commercial areas, Monet said, the Planning Commission decided it was "more easily regulated in the neighborhoods under our home occupation rules."

The city attorney drafted the rules, which were modeled after an ordinance approved by Grand Rapids. The Planning Commission has recommended approving the measure.

Under the proposal, a homeowner could not make any structural changes to the house not customary in residential dwellings or use electrical equipment that would create a nuisance to neighbors.

The state law requires medical marijuana users to be more than 1,000 feet from schools and day-care centers.

In addition, a primary caregiver can only serve five patients a week, and only one caregiver can work at a home.

Tyrone Township resident John McIntosh, a medical marijuana user, said he hasn't heard of communities adopting rules like the one being proposed in Brighton. He doesn't believe it would be a problem.

However, McIntosh said, a medical marijuana dispensary in a residential neighborhood might attract more attention, particularly from police departments.

He said police departments are "just going crazy about this."

"They're going after medical marijuana like it's m***," McIntosh said. "They're treating marijuana like it's some dangerous drug."

He said there are many benefits from marijuana, and people need to get educated about "this medicine."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: livingstondaily.com
Author: Jim Totten
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Copyright: livingstondaily.com
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