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E.L. Residents Ask Council to Re-Examine Ordinance

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Though the East Lansing City Council spent nearly a year working toward an ordinance regulating commercial distribution of medical marijuana in the city, some believe the work should continue.

Some East Lansing residents formally have requested council reconsider its vote on a recently passed ordinance, which allows for the presence of medical marijuana dispensaries in primarily office districts within the city limits, East Lansing City Manager Ted Staton said.

"I don't know what will come of it, but there are people out there encouraging council to think again," Staton said.

The ordinance was passed at the council's March 15 meeting in a 4-1 vote.

East Lansing resident Ralph Monsma, one citizen championing the move to reconsider the ordinance, said many properties potentially could be available to medical marijuana dispensaries, but from the restrictions given in the ordinance, it was hard to understand what properties were eligible.

"It's very difficult to figure out how they could pick which one of those things could be approved - a lot of the guidelines aren't figured out yet," Monsma said.

Monsma said he and the other concerned citizens involved - most of whom reside in the Pinecrest neighborhood north of MSU campus, near B4 districts affected by the ordinance - believe the document was difficult to understand for everyone involved and should be worked on before more action is taken.

"It just has to be clearer and it has to be more workable," Monsma said. "We're just trying to make sure that the document can be understood by our residents."

Definitional problems, concentration of dispensaries in one area of the city and legal issues were other pieces of the ordinance some residents would like council to revisit, Monsma said.

Councilmember Kevin Beard said he was aware some citizens are concerned about certain aspects of the ordinance, but was unsure of the specific changes they wanted to make.

He said until he saw the specific changes they were looking for, he would be uncomfortable changing his position or moving for a reconsideration.

"At this point in time, I would not be comfortable moving to reconsider ( the ordinance ) ... without additional information as to what these folks want to see further adjusted or changed," Beard said.

East Lansing Mayor Vic Loomis, who voted against the ordinance, said he still has concerns with pieces of the ordinance.

"I ... felt there was more work that needed to be done to begin with," Loomis said. "I still feel the ordinance, as passed, is deficient."

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: State News, The (MI State U, MI Edu)
Copyright: 2011 The State News
Contact: opinion@statenews.com
Website: The State News
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Lauren Gibbons
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