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City Moves to Zone Marijuana Operations

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OWOSSO – The feud over whether the medical marijuana facility 21 Herbal was within its rights to operate where it is located or whether St. Paul Catholic Church across the street was correct in stating the 1,000-foot, drug-free zone around schools applied to 21 Herbal is likely over after the operation's owner declared he would shut the doors at that location permanently.

"That location will no longer be open," said Zachary Manausa, who according to the Shiawassee County Doing Business As (DBA) is the owner of 21 Herbal.

Manausa did, however, say if or when he can find another location, the operation will consider re-opening.

21 Herbal's decision came after another highly attended Owosso meeting; this time it was the planning commission that heard dozens of complaints Monday about 21 Herbal and its location. At the meeting, the planning commission approved a zoning amendment for medical marijuana dispensaries as well as individual caregivers. It must still be approved by the city council before taking effect.

Burton Fox, chairman of the planning commission, said the zoning ordinance addresses three different types of medical marijuana issues: dispensaries, caregivers growing in their homes and medical marijuana grow facilities.

As for dispensaries, the classification Fox said 21 Herbal would fall under, the proposed amendment means a dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of any school property or 500 feet from a place of worship, licensed daycare, playground and/or public park. They are also restricted to the B-2, B-3 and B-4 business districts.

A growing facility falls within the same distance parameters from the same establishments as a dispensary, but must be located within an I-1 industrial district.

With the proposed amendment, there are only a few places for these types of businesses to operate, which was the intention of the planning commission, Fox said.

"We have used this to provide a means of limiting how many we can have," he said.

The third part of the amendment addresses individuals who are medical marijuana cardholders and choose to grow their marijuana in a locked facility within their own home, which is a right given to them under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Caregivers who choose to grow at home also are regulated. Within the city, an individual growing medical marijuana in a home must reside in an R-1 residential district.

The commission's proposed ordinance amendment also would restrict the home to housing two caregivers for whom the home is their primary residence.

Fox admitted because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects individuals' health information, "it makes it awfully difficult to enforce" the home caregiver portion of the zoning amendment.

Manausa said he wouldn't have done much differently in light of the outcome, but said he felt the whole situation was blown out of proportion.

"We understand where they (St. Paul) are coming from, but we wish they had taken the time to educate themselves," he said. "I wish the church could have been better informed on what we do."

He encouraged anyone who has reservations or any angst toward medical marijuana to talk to his or her physician about its practical medical uses.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: argus-press.com
Author: Curtis Wildfong
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The Argus-Press
Website: City moves to zone marijuana operations
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