Board seeks more information on medical marijuana businesses

FLINT TWP. — The Flint Township Board of Trustees decided Monday it needs more information and public input before voting on a resolution to allow medical marijuana businesses in the township.

The board was presented with a resolution from the township Planning Commission, which stated that an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow the businesses is being reviewed by the township attorney.

It further stated that no medical marijuana uses will be allowed in the township until the earlier of Aug. 20, 2019, or the date by which the Planning Commission has submitted an opt-in for medical marijuana processing facilities, secure transport centers, safety compliance facilities and grow centers. The resolution calls for opting out of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Economic Enhancement Director Tracey Tucker told the board there were five options for it to consider. 1) Vote on the resolution as presented, which would start the process of debate on the ordinance; 2) vote for the resolution with changes to the types of facilities allowed, which also would start debate on the ordinance; 3) Vote to opt out completely, ending the process; 4) send the issue back to the Planning Commission for recommendation of what facilities should be included in the opt-in, opening debate on which facilities should be included in the ordinance; 5) Take no action, which essentially is opting out and ends the process.

Tucker said two Planning Commission members were absent from the April 11 meeting where the resolution and options were discussed. Board members Frank Kasle and Tom Klee and Supervisor Karyn Miller said the issue was so important that they wanted to hear from the entire Planning Commission before deciding.

“I don’t think we should opt out completely,” Kasle said. “I think we should get a thorough analysis from the full Planning Commission.”

The board voted to postpone any action on the resolution.

Township Clerk Kathy Funk and Trustee Carol Pfaff-Dahl voted against the postponement, with both of them stating they are in favor of opting out completely.

Tucker said the Planning Commission is set to meet next Thursday and that she would put the issue back on the agenda for that meeting. She added that if the full commission was not going to be at that meeting, she would call a special meeting to ensure full participation.

Miller said she was in favor of asking the commission to hold a public hearing on the issue as well.

“I don’t think we should vote on this without public input,” she said. “Every single precinct voted in favor of recreational and medical marijuana.”

Tucker said the commission could hold a public hearing and possibly be ready to come back to the board with a recommendation at a July meeting.

Funk and Pfaff-Dahl reiterated their positions against any medical marijuana facilities in the township.

“I’m going by what the chief of police has said,” Funk said. “I support the chief of police.”

“I think the police have enough work on their hands, and I’m concerned about impaired driving,” Pfaff-Dahl said.

Board Treasurer Lisa Anderson pointed out that it was not a question of support for the chief and the police department.

“I don’t want anyone to think we don’t support him,” she said.

The board voted to direct the Planning Commission to provide a recommendation on what type of facilities should be allowed in the township and to hold a public hearing on the matter.

When asked about his position on allowing medical marijuana businesses, Police Chief Kevin Salter said, “It’s illegal. It’s federally illegal. It’s still considered a crime.”