Kudos to the Wolverine Lake Village Council for pulling off what so many Michigan municipalities have been unable — or unwilling — to do: Draft a local medical marijuana ordinance that addresses legitimate issues or concerns while still allowing registered caregivers and patients to cultivate, dispense and use marijuana as medicine in the community.
The Village Council introduced ordinance amendments to that end during a Wednesday, June 13 meeting, and will consider final adoption during a Wednesday, July 11 session.
The proposed provisions allow caregivers to register in the village to serve state-registered medical marijuana patients, and to cultivate medical marijuana in certain commercial districts after registering and obtaining a license. Dispensaries will be prohibited.
A license is not required for a principal residence where marijuana is cultivated or used exclusively for the resident patient’s personal consumption, but other locations where a patient cultivates or uses marijuana are subject to licensure.
The sale, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana would be prohibited within 500 feet of any school or adult entertainment land uses, such as bars.
Violations would be considered civil infractions with penalties of $1,000 per violation. In the event of two or more violations, increased civil penalties would ensue, along with possible revocation of licensure after a hearing.
Communities across the state have been grappling with the medical marijuana issue since state voters overwhelming approved a November 2008 ballot question authorizing use of marijuana as medicine by registered patients with certain debilitating illnesses. Yet few communities have enacted local ordinances to govern medical marijuana in their communities. Instead, most have passed and then extended moratoriums on medical marijuana while they “study” the issue and await the Legislature’s clarification of “confusing” and “ambiguous” state provisions.
Although Wolverine Lake had enacted and extended such moratoriums, village officials have now come up with some fairly reasonable local controls, most related to land use concerns. Although not perfect, at least the proposal would authorize medical marijuana activities in the village.
That’s a far cry from what’s occurred in most communities, which is a lot of nothing but lip service and the approval of one moratorium extension after another. It’s been three years since the state’s medical marijuana law was enacted, and they’re allegedly still “studying the issue.”
Assuming the Wolverine Lake provisions are adopted next month, officials in other lakes area municipalities that are reportedly paralyzed by confusion can simply look to Wolverine Lake to get a jump start on their own local regulations. Failure to do anything else will expose their real intention — to deliberately thwart the voters’ will.