420 Magazine Background

Gun Plain May Act Against Medical Marijuana

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Gun Plain Township board members discussed refusing to pass a medical marijuana ordinance in deference to federal law, but against the constitutional amendment Michigan voters passed in 2008.

The township board had directed its planning commission to work on fashioning an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana, but Supervisor Mike VanDenBerg said he had decided he couldn't support any such ordinance.

"I thought long and hard on this issue," VanDenBerg said. "I had Marty ( Meert, township clerk ) pull up my oath of office.

"I have to swear to support and defend the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Michigan."

He said that he felt he had to follow federal law.

"Federal law says it's illegal to use medical marijuana and federal laws are supreme over state laws," VanDenBerg said. "I thought about the situation.

"Congress has the authority to make the laws, under the commerce clause. It'd be like the state passing a law to say I couldn't use my gun to protect my family or hunt."

He said he realized that the majority of voters in 2008 supported it.

"I know the state passed it and our township ( voters ) passed it," VanDenBerg said. "My position has changed. If the board wants to continue, I'll be voting no."

Trustee Ron Kopka said that the township would be best served to stay out of it.

"I respect your opinion but this is an issue that will be solved by bigger entities than us," Kopka said. "I think we should just sit on the sidelines."

VanDenBerg said the township would have to move ahead one way or the other on an ordinance.

Kopka raised the specter of a lawsuit. Medical marijuana advocates have filed suits or threatened suits against municipalities that have refused to allow medical marijuana.

"I don't want to spend our money to fight this," Kopka said.

VanDenBerg said that lawsuits might come from people opposed to medical marijuana, as well.

He said that he thought politicians, especially Republicans, in the state legislature would be unwilling to do anything that would associate themselves with medical marijuana.

"The possibility to get it changed is nil," he said.

VanDenBerg made a motion to state that the township would affirm the federal laws against medical marijuana, but then withdrew it.

Trustee Scott Corbin pointed out the planning commission needed some direction.

Corbin said the township could just stay out of it.

"The state law doesn't require us to have an ordinance," Corbin said.

Kopka said that leaving it unregulated could be a problem.

"You might have a rush to the township to set up business," he said. "I think we should have the moratorium."

Corbin said that the moratoriums were only allowed while progress was being made.

Kopka replied, "Well, I think we can make progress. All the progress that needs to be made."

The board will discuss the matter at its next regular meeting, Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Union Enterprise (MI)
Copyright: 2011 The Allegan County News
Contact: http://mapinc.org/url/FSVaGOJG
Website: Allegan News Online
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Daniel Pepper
Top Bottom