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Plainwell to Exempt Some Information on Medical-Marijuana Caregivers

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PLAINWELL – Medical marijuana caregivers soon can operate home-based businesses in Plainwell although other residents won't be able to access specific information about who is licensed to operate such operations.

"The city will treat information about home-based businesses related to medical marijuana as exempt from FOIA because of patient confidentiality," City Manager Erik Wilson said.

Usually, people can use the Freedom of Information Act to request details about who applies for building permits or business licenses.

Medical marijuana caregivers operating a home-based business in Plainwell may need building permits to update electrical or plumbing systems to accommodate grow lights or watering devices, and must work with public safety officials to prove that appropriate security and environmental standards are maintained.

But some of the required permit and business applications may make it readily apparent which residents are registering to dispense medical marijuana, Wilson said.

"Our attorney has indicated we can redact details about those transactions because releasing the information would violate patient confidentially laws," Wilson said.

"I'm not sure if other municipalities are limiting the release of information but that is what we plan to do," Wilson said.

Like many municipalities across the state, Plainwell leaders have debated long and hard about how to accommodate the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 that allows medical marijuana. Federal laws still ban medical marijuana.

The debate in Plainwell ended April 11 when city council members unanimously adopted ordinance changes that allow one registered caregiver per address to grow marijuana and provide it to five or fewer qualifying patients each week if specific conditions are met.

The city's ordinances do not allow medical marijuana exchanges that involve retail operations such as dispensaries or compassion clubs.

"It's really important that people remember medical marijuana use is not legal in Michigan except for what the act allows," Wilson said.

In Plainwell, the ordinance language limits how much space in a home can be used for the medical marijuana operation and prohibits any changes to the outside of the home. The ordinance changes also require any medical marijuana operation be located outside a 1,000-foot radius from any school or library.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: mlive.com
Author: Sharon Sturdevant
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Michigan Live LLC
Website: Plainwell to exempt some information on medical-marijuana caregivers from public disclosure
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