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Medical Marijuana Ordinance Headed for Public Hearing Tonight

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Brighton, MI--Medical marijuana may be headed for residential areas in Brighton, and it's the public's turn to give their opinion on it.

The Brighton City Council is holding a public hearing during its meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Brighton City Hall for a second reading of the proposed medical marijuana ordinance.

The proposed ordinance defines primary caregiving of medical marijuana as an in-home business in a residential-zoned area. The establishment of commercialized dispensaries or collectives in Brighton is prohibited in the ordinance.

The regulations on primary caregivers and medical marijuana are being added as an amendment to an already existing city zoning law defining home occupation.

The ordinance requires any electrical heating or watering for medical marijuana growing to be obtained via the necessary building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits. The ordinance also decrees that energy or heat usage that "exceeds typical residential use" and the storage of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are subject to inspections by the Brighton Area Fire Authority.

At the last meeting, some council members raised issues about having medical marijuana in residential areas and suggested additional permits and inspections be required for primary caregivers. However, there were no changes made to the ordinance, city attorney Brad Maynes said.

Doug Orton, head of the Brighton Area Compassion Club, said that inspections aren't needed, saying that primary caregivers can police themselves.

"In most situations no one needs to do any changes on the outside of their home in order to utilize the room they already have in existence," he said. "They just change what exists a little bit, not on the outside but on the inside, and the need for inspections is not really there."

Orton said he is planning on speaking at the hearing to address the regulations that he doesn't agree with. While general regulations were added to the home occupation definition, there were also other regulations specifically listed for primary caregivers, including the inspections and permits requirements.

There's no court rulings on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act yet, so city attorney Paul Burns said at the last council meeting that the city is taking an educated guess on what is enforceable and what is not.

"We're trying to propose an ordinance that doesn't violate that general principle (that city ordinances are subordinate to state laws) and at the same time reasonably regulate time, place and manner," he said.

The council's options for action include passing or rejecting the ordinance, or sending it back to the Planning Commission with suggestions.

The council could consider waiting to enact its policy if the Michigan Legislature passes proposed revisions to the state law or the Michigan Supreme Court issues precedents after agreeing to hear two appeals dealing with people arrested on drug violations despite arguing they were following the medical marijuana rules.

To read the proposed ordinance, access the city council packet for tonight's meeting and look for item 12 on the agenda. To see the previous definition for home occupation, access the city's ordinance codes and look up Chapter 98, Section 1-3, and scroll to "home occupation."

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News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: brighton.patch.com
Author: Jacob Kanclerz
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Patch
Website: Medical Marijuana Ordinance Headed For Public Hearing Tonight
 
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