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Holland Says You Can't Grow, Dispense Medical Marijuana Near Schools, Playgrounds

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Holland – Amid threats of legal action by a statewide pro-medical marijuana organization, the Holland City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance that allows caregivers to grow marijuana in their own homes, but not if they're within 1,000 feet of a school.

The council voted 7-2 in favor of the ordinance, which allows medical marijuana as a home occupation, meaning those who grow small amounts of marijuana for medicinal purposes would have to register with the city. It bans cooperatives and large-scale dispensaries.

"It's not perfect. I would hope people would have patience," said Councilwoman Nancy DeBoer, who voted in favor of the ordinance. "We've tried to protect those people who need protection and help those people who need help."

But Joe Cain, chief executive officer of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, blasted the Holland ordinance as unconstitutional.

"It criminalizes medical marijuana," said Cain, whose organization is already pursuing legal action against neighboring Holland Township over its medical marijuana ordinance, alleging the township violated the state's Open Meetings Act. "The patient's ability to obtain medicine will disappear."

The most controversial part of the ordinance was the amendment adding a 1,000-foot "safe zone" around schools, colleges and playgrounds, within which a caregiver would not be able to grow and dispense marijuana.

That amendment, earlier rejected by the Planning Commission as too restrictive, squeezed by the council on a 5-4 vote.
"This is very important for me as a parent, for living in this community," said Suzette Staal, a former teacher and mother of two who lives on W. 21st Street, who favors the safe zone.

While favoring the overall ordinance, Mayor Kurt Dykstra voted against allowing the safe zone. "It tends to eviscerate large pockets of the city from this legislation," said Dykstra, who earlier opposed the measure at the Planning Commission.

Voting in favor of the safe zone were DeBoer and Councilmen Jay Peters, Brian Burch, Todd Whiteman and Dave Hoekstra. Voting against the amendment were Dykstra, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Vande Vusse, and councilmen Shawn Miller and Mike Trethewey, who voted against both the amendment and the overall ordinance.

"My bottom line here is no matter which way you cut it, (marijuana) is illegal in the eyes of the federal government," Trethewey said.

"There is no other drug that is prescribed that you don't get from a licensed pharmacist. Why should this be any different?"

The council added the safe zone after reviewing two memorandums from the U.S. Department of Justice, including one issued last in April, that support the establishment of drug-free zones in areas where medical marijuana laws have passed. But one medical marijuana supporter argued that provision was directed toward states, not local communities.

"They're looking at state-run dispensaries. It does not apply to a city like Holland," said Monica Bakker, a spokeswoman for Patient Solutions 420, a medical marijuana dispensary located just east of the city limits, on Eighth Street in Holland Township.

Caregivers could grow up to 12 marijuana plants for themselves and up to five patients, for a maximum of 72 plants. The plants must be grown in an enclosed area of the home, and cannot take up more than 50 percent of the floor area of one story of the home.
The home must also go through an inspection process before approval, officials said.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: mlive.com
Author: Greg Chandler
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Michigan Live LLC.
Website: Holland says you can't grow, dispense medical marijuana near schools, playgrounds
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