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Northville to Consider Six Month Medical Marijuana Moratorium

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Northville could tonight join the list of Michigan communities putting brakes on the new state law allowing marijuana to be distributed for medical purposes.

Council members are expected to vote tonight on establishing a six-month moratorium on the authorization of licenses, permits or approvals "for the sale or dispensation" of medical marijuana within city limits, according to city documents.

"Other communities have done this," city manager Patrick Sullivan said. "In fact, some have already extended their moratoriums."

State voters approved the use of medical marijuana by a better-than 3-2 margin in 2008. Since then, numerous Michigan communities have sought to either ban distribution outright or block establishment of dispensaries, businesses specifically created to distribute the otherwise illegal drug.

"The law doesn't contain regulations, and communities need to know what they can do to regulate these facilities," Sullivan said. Operating hours and security measures to prevent break-ins are among communities' concerns, he added.

"There are also matters like the number of parking spaces such a business would require," Sullivan added.

According to city documents, the moratorium is designed to give the local planning commission time to review zoning ordinances with regard to the new state law.

At present, there are no dispensaries in Northville, and Sullivan said that, to the best of his knowledge, no business is seeking a license to operate a dispensary in the city.

The Michigan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) branch is watching the local action closely to see whether it would also prohibit caregivers from distributing marijuana to their patients.

Unlike dispensaries, caregivers work with only a limited number of patients, often out of their homes.

The ACLU has joined lawsuits against Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, among other communities that enacted outright bans on the dispensation of medical marijuana.

"That doesn't appear to be the case with what is being proposed in Northville, but we are concerned with how it would be enforced," ACLU spokesperson Rana Elmir said. "Our position is that, while cities have control over zoning, patients have the right to care."

Medical marijuana advocates have argued that the drug is no more dangerous than others commonly used to alleviate suffering and is especially effective in dealing with such conditions as chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Sullivan said the local moratorium could be extended to anyone, including caregivers, who sell marijuana to patients.

"It is based on sale or distribution," he said.

The moratorium is part of the council's consent agenda, a collection of city items often approved without extended discussion.

Tonight's council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at city hall, 215 N. Main.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: northville.patch.com
Author: Wayne Peal
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Patch
Website: Northville to Consider Six Month Medical Marijuana Moratorium
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