Pubdate: Wed, 07 Sep 2011 Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI) Copyright: 2011 Battle Creek Enquirer Contact: http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/customerservice/contactus.html Website: http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1359 Author: Sarah Lambert, The Enquirer MARSHALL COUNCIL VOTES TO LIMIT MEDICAL MARIJUANA MARSHALL -- After more than 13 months of discussion and delay, the Marshall City Council on Tuesday approved a short three-page ordinance regulating medical marijuana in the city. The new local law, drafted by City Attorney Paul Beardslee, permanently prohibits the operation of any medical marijuana dispensary in the city. The ordinance was designed to adhere strictly to the existing state Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 2008. "The approach that I have proposed for your consideration would prohibit the use of property by more than two caregivers," Beardslee said. "They can have up to 10 qualifying patients." The ordinance came just after a Michigan Appeals Court ruling Aug. 24, stating that the state's marijuana act does not allow medical marijuana to be sold at private shops. "I think this is a minimalist approach," said Council Member Brent Williams at the meeting. "It preserves the dignity of the patient, but it also goes a long way toward protecting our community from what a lot of us consider to be a dangerous drug." The Marshall law has been in the making since July 2010, when the city first voted to create a temporary moratorium banning the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. That moratorium was twice extended as the city government struggled to interpret the law's vague language. At an October 2010 public hearing, city council members said they were discouraged when few residents showed up to voice their opinion on the subject. City council members have to bear in mind that even Marshall voters approved the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, Williams said. "As many of you know, I was against the medical marijuana initiative when it was on the ballot," Williams said. "I thought it was a bad idea then, and I still think it's a bad idea." Council Member Kathy Miller said she voted in favor of the MMMA when it passed in 2008. "I voted for compassionate care and that's what I wanted to see happen," Miller said. Miller said she was pleased that the city's short new ordinance does not prohibit the use of marijuana by individuals with medical cards. Instead, it states that only two licensed individuals can use a lot within the city to grow, acquire, transfer or transport medical marijuana. "The use of any lot of record as a Marijuana Dispensary is prohibited," the ordinance reads. Meanwhile, the city of Battle Creek's medical marijuana moratorium is in effect until June 6. The moratorium allows licensed patients and caregivers to use the drug, but bans the opening of new dispensary businesses. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.