Pubdate: Wed, 07 Sep 2011
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2011 Battle Creek Enquirer
Author: Sarah Lambert, The Enquirer


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
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.