Still Hazy on Pot Law: MMJ Presents Challenges
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Still Hazy on Pot Law: MMJ Presents Challenges
Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2010 at 04:54:39 PT
By Susan Vela
Source: Lansing State Journal
Michigan -- Lansing Councilwoman Carol Wood drives by vacant houses and wonders if someone could convert a dwelling into a place where the terminally ill could smoke medical marijuana.Constituents are asking whether they can rent property to help others under the guidelines of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, which voters approved in November 2008. However, the guidelines present an agility test considering marijuana is a narcotic substance.
"This is a whole new area," Wood said. "We're just in the mode of gathering information. You have to figure out how to best utilize (the legislation) in your community."Communities across the state - including mid-Michigan - are grappling with the law, proposing resolutions and ordinances to guide their management of medical marijuana use within their boundaries.Lansing, East Lansing and Charlotte have nothing on the books right now but are considering new rules. And they're closely watching the fallout in other places such as Grand Rapids that have studied zoning changes to address the law.Mike Woodworth is an attorney with the Hubbard Law Firm, which has dispatched attorneys across the state to help counties, cities, townships and villages manage orderly communities because while medical marijuana use is legal under Michigan law, the use of marijuana also violates federal drug mandates."One of the first things that we try to do is educate our audiences on the major parts of this new legislation," Woodworth said.During his sessions, Woodworth's main reminder is that 63 percent of voters cast ballots for the passage of medical marijuana use.However, "we're getting calls from people who are wanting to set up dispensaries," said Billie O'Berry, Lansing's assistant city attorney. "We need clarification. The act does not address dispensaries or compassion clubs." Proposal Coming City officials plan to present soon a proposal that would guide Lansing's management of the new medical marijuana legislation. Both the public and officials will have a chance to provide input on the draft."We want to comply with the law," O'Berry said. "We will be moving forward in the very near future to adopt a uniform response."She and other local attorneys are observing the tactics taken by other communities. In November, Grand Rapids approved a six-month moratorium on the distribution of medical marijuana.Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids' planning director, said the city has an ordinance that would allow registered caregivers to administer medical marijuana as a home occupation.East Lansing is considering a similar application of the law, while Charlotte is considering a proposal that would address several issues, such as property upkeep and ways to keep teens from hanging around in the vicinity of a medical marijuana location."What we want to attempt to avoid are the attraction of problems that I think might be associated with people that are coming to those locations," Charlotte City Manager Gregg Guetschow said.Williamstown Township officials have not halted operations of the Green Leaf Smokers Club, where caregivers administer medical marijuana from a small business building that sits across from a park."We're doing quite well," founder Wayne Dagit said. "I know that I'm doing God's work."Township officials did not return phone calls for this story. They have said previously they are investigating whether it's legal for the club to operate."My advice to them would be to put together an ordinance (that) any business possession is still a federal law violation," said Ing-ham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, who is upset with Michigan's voter-approved marijuana law. "It's just a joke. It's a scam. Everybody knows it."Residents have their own concerns. Williamston resident Robert Wygant said his worries stem from the youngsters who gather at the park sitting across from the Green Leaf Smokers Club."The kids play volleyball all summer long," he noted. A 'Learning Curve' William Matthewson, general counsel for the Michigan Municipal League, said it will take some time for the dust to clear."Obviously, the legislation has an impact on local governments," he said. "There are elements of the law that need to be analyzed from the local government point of view."Everybody is going through that learning curve."Source: Lansing State Journal (MI)Author: Susan VelaPublished: April 5, 2010Copyright: 2010 Lansing State JournalWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Canis420 on April 05, 2010 at 23:00:59 PT:
A benefit on the scale of Farmaid is in order to bring the attention of the American people to this issue. Thanks for all you do!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 05, 2010 at 12:24:38 PT
Sting: Let's End The War On Drugs
April 5, 2010URL:
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