Before lifting a moratorium on the sale, cultivation or dispensing of medical marijuana, officials from the village of Wolverine Lake, Milford Township and Milford Village will attend a seminar on the subject on Monday, Sept. 26.
The meeting will be open to elected officials from those communities, as well as planning commission members.
The municipalities share the same attorney, Jennifer Elowsky of Groth, Elowsky, Kelley, Pawlak and Seglund. Some of the information presented may include discourse on the Aug. 23 unanimous decision by the state Court of Appeals that ruled that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) — which was the result of a voter-approved ballot measure in 2008 that allowed use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients — does not provide legal grounds for so-called dispensaries to facilitate patient-to-patient sales of medical marijuana.
The ruling is expected to help communities grappling with issues related to medical marijuana; however, others like Wolverine Lake and Milford Township and Milford Village want their attorney’s opinion before acting.
“The seminar is one way to determine which way we should go with an ordinance,” said Wolverine Lake Village Council President John Magee.
“The ruling may have some merit on what is presented, but she (Elowsky) has been gathering the information for some time,” said Wolverine Lake Village Councilman and Planning Commission Liaison Brian Nedrow.
Wolverine Lake’s medical marijuana moratorium — which has been extended twice — will expire Dec. 14. Village officials wanted to wait to see how the state would handle the ambiguity that local officials say has hindered any crafting of an ordinance.
“We want some clarification on how to proceed with an ordinance on the local level — we’ve been struggling on how to proceed,” Nedrow said.
Milford Township Supervisor Don Green said that township officials will be present at the symposium.
The Milford Township Board of Trustees voted on May 18 to extend the township’s moratorium on medical marijuana establishments and activities for another six months.
The moratorium was first enacted by the township board on May 19, 2010 for six months. The board extended the moratorium for another six months on Nov. 17, 2010.
The moratorium denies any use of land in the township for marijuana cultivation or processing, distribution or dispensing, smoking or other administration; marijuana stores; and specialized schools or training involving marijuana.
The township board has previously argued that the township’s current zoning and land use ordinances don’t address the proper location of land uses involving medical marijuana because many of the activities previously were illegal and not permitted in any zoning classification within the township.
Milford Village Manager Arthur Shufflebarger also said that some Milford Village Council members will also be present at the symposium.
The Milford Village Council voted on June 6 to approve an extension of the village’s moratorium on medical marijuana facilities for another six months, now spanning until November, in order for the Planning Commission to do more research.
The village originally extended its moratorium for six months back in November after first passing it last June. The moratorium forbids land use for growing and distributing medical marijuana or allowing schools to provide training on the cultivation, processing, and distribution.