Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jul 2010
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2010 Battle Creek Enquirer
Author: Sarah Lambert


MARSHALL -- Paul Sutherland will have to wait at least six months 
before he can open a medical marijuana business in Marshall.

The Marshall City Council on Monday passed a six-month moratorium on 
new medical marijuana businesses -- like the one Sutherland wanted to 
start -- from opening in the city. Currently, no such businesses 
exist in Marshall, said City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz.

The city of Battle Creek passed a similar ordinance July 6. Michigan 
voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in November 2008, which 
legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

"I know lots of people who could benefit from legal available 
marijuana here in Marshall," Sutherland said after the moratorium 
passed. Sutherland's mother suffers from severe hip pain and could 
benefit from a local clinic, he said.

"The young and the old shouldn't have to travel to Lansing or Ann 
Arbor to get (marijuana)," he said.

Sutherland wants to open a medical marijuana business as soon as 
possible, he said. It would be a place people could gather to discuss 
the issue and the industry would bring revenue to the city, he said.

City Council members said they weren't necessarily opposing marijuana 
dispensaries; they just wanted time to study the issue.

"I think the intent of this is readily apparent," said City 
Councilman Jim Dyer at the meeting. "This is not an attempt to 
prohibit this in any sense, but to adopt a proper regulation after an 
appropriate time of study."

City code zoning regulations were approved in 2006, before the 2008 
state law was passed. The City Council will discuss its options on 
adjusting that code at a work session before the Aug. 16 meeting.

Ordinance changes could regulate the type or size of business allowed 
in the city or the location of the business, for instance, Tarkiewicz said.

But before that happens, the city will gather public input, Tarkiewicz said.

Councilwoman Kathy Miller invited Sutherland to attend the August 
meeting after he asked the council not to pass the moratorium.

Sutherland was not surprised by the city's decision. "They need to 
examine what ordinances are on the books that are effective," he 
said. "Other cities have done the same thing. You don't want a store 
near a school, and there are other considerations, too. I plan to be 
at the August 16 meeting." 
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