Pubdate: Mon, 6 Dec 2010
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2010 Battle Creek Enquirer
Author: Barrett Newkirk, The Enquirer
Cited: Battle Creek city commissioners
Referenced: Medical Marijuana Act


Commissioners to Weigh in on Proposed Regulations

Battle Creek city commissioners will have their first chance to 
formally weigh in on proposed medical marijuana regulations at their 
meeting Tuesday.

Among the new rules, the draft ordinances would require growers, also 
called caregivers, to obtain a city license for operating in certain 
commercial zones.

Patients licensed by the state could grow and use marijuana in their 
own homes with a city license, but if they are renters, they would 
need written permission from their landlords.

Homes with more than two patients plus their designated caregivers 
would require a city license.

Under the proposal, compassion clubs, which are locations for medical 
marijuana support services, could operate in office zones. Operations 
focused on distributing or consuming the drug would be banned.

Medical marijuana users and advocates have said the city's rules 
would severely limit patients' access to vital medications and could 
open up the city to lawsuits for not following the state law.

Michigan's medical marijuana law allows people to obtain a license to 
legally use the drug if they suffer from cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's 
disease, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or other conditions.

The proposed city ordinances will be introduced Tuesday. A vote to 
adopt the ordinances could come Dec. 21.

Still undecided is whether patients should be allowed to use the drug 
at compassion clubs. The city planning commission last week approved 
language to allow such usage, but the city commission has final say.

Vice Mayor Chris Simmons said Friday he was speaking with other 
commissioners and gauging support for an amendment to stop use at the clubs.

Simmons, who said he supported the 2008 ballot initiative legalizing 
medical marijuana in Michigan, said his main concern is that the city 
complies with the state law.

"The law as enacted put in the state constitution vague language, so 
it leaves cities like Battle Creek in a real awkward position," he said.

Commissioner Bill Morris said he felt the recommended ordinances 
brought too much regulation.

"I think a lot of that stuff is probably going to have to go," he 
said. "I think we're just going to have to limit how much is going to 
be grown."

Other commissioners said Friday they were still going over the 
recommendations and weren't ready to give a clear yes or no vote.

Commissioner Laurie Sullivan said she was waiting for information 
from the police department on whether marijuana issues have risen 
since the drug became legal for medical purposes in 2009.

Commissioner Andy Yankama said he had concerns about how securely 
growers and patients keep their medical marijuana, something the 
state law addresses.

"You don't want things like this to really get out of hand," Yankama 
said. "There are a lot of things there that really I'm concerned 
about, and I don't want our young people to get this stuff in the 
street and mess their minds up."
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