Goodrich council postpones action on medical marijuana ordinance

GOODRICH –— The Village of Goodrich council has indefinitely postponed action on a proposed medical marijuana caregiver registration ordinance.

The ordinance is identical to that which the Atlas Township Board of Trustees approved in January, and which is currently under consideration in Grand Blanc Township.

Residents who appeared for a public hearing at the April 12 council meeting, and others who sent letters to the village, generally expressed opposition to the ordinance.

One unnamed resident who wrote a letter opposed the part of the ordinance that requires caregivers to provide the names of their patients.

“You are not my doctor,” the resident, who has lived in Goodrich for about 50 years, wrote.

Another resident wrote, “I feel like this is invading my privacy. It’s not fair for you all to know my personal medical records.”

“It’s nobody’s business at the village who has a medical card,” another resident expressed in a letter.

Village officials were able to clear up some apparent confusion about some of the residents’ concerns. First, only caregivers would be required to pay a licensing fee. Second, the village would not have access to personal medical histories of patients. Caregivers would have to provide patient names so authorities can determine whether the number of plants are within the guidelines of 12 plants per patient. Patient names also are on file with the State of Michigan, and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Councilwoman Melissa Schuentz, who introduced the motion to postpone, said she and other village residents have “incredibly strong” feelings about the need for more research before acting.

Schuentz moved to postpone the vote “to a date unknown” so the council can take a closer look at what they’re hoping to accomplish.

“If I’m going to put my name on an ordinance that’s going to affect my community, I want to be 100 percent sure what our final outcome is and what our objective is with that ordinance,” she said. “I want to make sure it’s the most educated ordinance out there.”

Davison Township was the first local municipality to enact such an ordinance, doing so in response to complaints about odors and makeshift grow sheds in one neighborhood.

Commenting on the odor issue, Schuentz asked, “What’s the difference if my neighbor is cooking something all day that bothers me?”