Board delays approval of medical marijuana ordinance

FLINT TWP. — A Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Ordinance was presented for a second reading and adoption at the township board on March 19, but postponed to allow more time for review.

The ordinance will define what type and where medical marijuana businesses will be allowed in the township. It will also bring the township into compliance with new state laws.

The purpose of the ordinance is to authorize the establishment of certain types of medical marijuana facilities in Flint Township and adopt “reasonable restrictions to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community at large; retain the character of neighborhoods; and mitigate potential impacts on surrounding properties and persons.” in accordance with the Medical Marijuana Facilities Act enacted in September 2016 and implemented in December 2017 to create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana growers and sellers.

The township ordinance also seeks to defray administrative and enforcement costs by imposing an annual, nonrefundable fee of not more than $5,000 per license.

Board members received a final draft of the ordinance, after it was approved by the township attorney, but asked for more time to review it. They voted 4-2 in favor of postponement.

“If it has taken this long, what is another couple of weeks?” asked Trustee Barb Vert, who made the motion to postpone adoption of the ordinance.

Trustee Tom Klee, who also voted for postponement, said he wanted to “make sure it is done right.”

Trustee Frank Kasle asked if there is a legal deadline when the ordinance must be in place. He noted that many surrounding communities already have medical marijuana licensing ordinances in effect.

Supervisor Karyn Miller mentioned that every precinct in the township voted in favor of Michigan’s medical marijuana law, which passed in 2008. The board has some authority on determining how the law is administered and already has zoning restrictions in place. However, before the licensing ordinance takes effect, some amendments to the zoning ordinance must be made, after a pubic hearing before the township Planning Commission.

Randy Stewart, zoning administrator, said, “It is one thing to pass an ordinance and another to enforce it.”

He said enforcement would be a dual challenge under the jurisdiction of the police department and zoning enforcers.

Miller said the ordinance will be placed on the agenda for the board’s April 2 meeting.

The township ordinance, as presented, will not allow dispensaries (retail and recreational sales) or provisioning centers, as defined by state law.

The township ordinance will allow Class A, B and C growers, processors, safety compliance facilities and secure transporters.

The ordinance also sets operating hours for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for authorized facilities and imposes setbacks from K-12 schools, licensed childcare centers, pubic parks and other federal properties.

The ordinance spells out penalties for violations and other licensing requirements. it can be read in its entirety on the township website.

The ordinance also specifies it does not grant immunity from criminal or civil prosecution or penalty any cultivation, manufacture, possession, use, sale or distribution of MJ for nonmedical purposes, as prescribed by law.

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