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Kalamazoo Township Adopts Long-Anticipated Medical Marijuana Ordinance

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Kalamazoo – Kalamazoo Township finally has a medical marijuana ordinance.

The Township Board on Monday adopted an ordinance that regulates the cultivation, sale and distribution of marijuana by registered caregivers to qualified local patients. The rules are less restrictive than what was considered in March, and calls for licensed caregivers to pay an annual fee of $25.

"You have before you a proposed ordinance that represents a change in direction," from a zoning ordinance to a licensing ordinance, Township Attorney Kenneth Sparks told board members.

The ordinance proposed in March would have required growers who provide for more than one patient to locate in commercial and industrial zones. This one, following a model provided by the Michigan Municipal League, licenses locations for cultivation and distribution to qualified patients.

Medical marijuana activity is still prohibited in areas close to schools, playgrounds and parks and close to another provider. However, through an amendment offered by Trustee Mark Miller, the minimum distance allowed will be changed from 1,000 to 500 feet. Another amendment from Miller that allows existing registered caregivers grandfathering privileges was approved.

Though the rules have been relaxed from what was proposed earlier, not everybody was happy at a public hearing held Monday before the ordinance was adopted.

A caregiver who identified himself only as Shawn told the board, "You're changing course, but you're going in the wrong direction ... I don't see any similar regulations for growing tomatoes."

Worried about privacy and overzealous police enforcement of what state law has deemed a legal activity, he said, "We don't want townships like this one going after caregivers and patients."

Sal Ali said he doesn't like restrictions on qualified patients sharing with other qualified patients, nor does he support restrictions on places where marijuana can be ingested.

"Where does a caregiver or patient then acquire medicine?" he asked. "Low income people sometimes have to go to these facilities to ingest it."

In addition to adopting the ordinance, the board also appointed Police Chief Tim Obreiter as local medical marijuana officer and pledged to make information about registered users and caregivers confidential.

The ordinance follows nearly a year of debate and moratoriums on the issue. After public hearings last fall and in February and March, the proposed ordinance crafted by a committee was tabled and the moratorium extended because of concerns about being too restrictive and not getting enough input from medical marijuana advocates.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: mlive.com
Author: David T. Young
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Michigan Live LLC.
Website: Kalamazoo Township adopts long-anticipated medical marijuana ordinance
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