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Crowd Fills Muskegon Township Meeting on Medical Marijuana Issue

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Advocates and opponents of a medical marijuana club did, as advertised, “flood” a Muskegon Township Board meeting — but the tide went out quickly.

More than 60 people showed up at Monday night’s light-agenda meeting, far above the average for the township.

Most apparently were there for the marijuana issue, and most of those, judging by crowd comments, were in favor of letting the Greater Michigan Compassion Club continue its operations at 2116 E. Apple Ave., less than two blocks from Township Hall.

The turnout was spurred by the Township Board’s 7-0 vote on March 21 to enact a 180-day moratorium on “the establishment of any business or premises” to distribute or dispense marijuana, other than to the people living on the premises. Township officials plan to examine the issue of how to regulate such operations, then enact an ordinance.

The issue wasn’t on this week’s board agenda, but club leaders wanted to get members’ views across that no restrictions should be imposed on the club, which offers what it calls “acquisition assistance” including free medical screenings, as well as a social club for members.

Well before the 7 p.m. meeting began, the township’s relatively small meeting room filled with people, a few holding signs such as one reading “Patients Have Rights” along with prints of a red cross and a green marijuana leaf.

Township Supervisor Dave Kieft Jr. asked supporters and opponents of restrictions to pick one spokesperson apiece to speak to board members.

Speaking on behalf of the club was its executive director, Derek Antol of Muskegon. He was brief — thanking the board for not “just sticking a ‘not allowed’ sticker on it like a lot of communities,” asking them their intentions for an ordinance and inviting questions from board members.

Kieft responded that officials haven’t decided what they’ll do yet, but outlined the process: A draft of a proposed ordinance will go to the township’s Planning Commission for a public hearing and a recommendation — probably in June, he said later — followed by board action.

No board members had questions for Antol.

Taking the other side was Joe Schillaci of Muskegon Township, who said he wasn’t against Michigan’s legalization of medical marijuana — “I’m more against the clubs.”

The former Greater Michigan Compassion Club employee disputed Antol’s statement in a Chronicle story that marijuana isn’t smoked at the club, saying he has witnessed it — drawing loud contradictions from some in the audience. Schillaci said the drug should be only for those “who (medically) deserve it — not a stubbed toe or a broken leg or menstrual cramp,” which also drew loud jeers and protests.

“There does need to be something done about it, sooner than later,” Schillaci said.

With both sides having spoken their piece, the crowd got up and noisily left the ongoing board meeting, accompanied to the parking lot by Township Police Chief Don Schrumpf and another police officer. No fights erupted.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: mlive.com
Author: John S. Hausman
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Michigan Live LLC
Website: Crowd fills Muskegon Township meeting on medical marijuana issue
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