DAVISON TWP. — The board of trustees took the first steps Aug. 10 to regulate the growing of medical marijuana in residential neighborhoods with the passage of the first reading of a caregiver permit ordinance and application process.
Supervisor Tim Elkins said the ordinance and permitting fee is “literally cutting edge,” something nobody in state is doing.
He said he thinks this measure will help subdivisions by regulating caregivers and requiring them to register with the township.
The move comes after residents in the Vassar Park subdivision reported a major grow operation at a home in their neighborhood which, with the help of the township, they are trying to regulate.
“We don’t think these types of grow operations, though legal, should be located in a subdivision or residential area,” said Elkins. “We want to honor intent of the state law and give caregivers the ability to do that while protecting the homeowners in the subdivisions.”
Elkins said the township has been very careful looking at an ordinance because they want to make sure they don’t stop anyone who needs medical marijuana from growing their own, but they would like to seek a balance between the rights of the medical marijuana patients and the residents living in subdivisions.
Terri McDaniel, leader of the Vassar Park residents opposed to the grow operation in their neighborhood, said she’s reviewed the ordinance and saw nothing addressing residential areas.
Township Attorney David Lattie said regulating the location where medical marijuana can be grown is something they have not addressed yet in the ordinance.
If it were to be located somewhere, Lattie said a large agricultural plot somewhere made more sense than in a densely populated subdivision.
Lattie said this is part one of two step process, the current step being the creation of an ordinance which may be subject to several modifications and rewrites as the process goes forward.
The current step is to make it so individuals wanting to grow medical marijuana are recognized as caregivers and they are required to provide their location, the number of plants they have, whether they own or lease the property and if the operation is indoor or outdoor. account for number of plants – limitations – not near school or park – get appropriate permits “The point of the ordinance is to identify caregivers and assign and attach their plants to their specific patients to keep accurate counts,” he said. “This is not an attempt to prevent someone from participating in lawful cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. But if you violate or don’t go along with the ordinance you can receive a civil infraction. We can revoke your permit and the court can prevent you from partaking in this activity.”
The second step, said Lattie, is presenting the ordinance to the planning commission, who will consider whether the township should limit the growth in residential/agricultural areas.
McDaniel asked if the township had reviewed other area marijuana ordinances, specifically the one in Vienna Township, which she said is very comprehensive.
Tim Green, a resident and candidate for township treasurer in November, said Vienna Township immediately implemented their ordinance upon passage by Michigan voters of the medical marijuana proposal in 2016.
“There’s no one growing and selling medical and recreational marijuana (in Vienna Township),” said Green. “They set it up as a lengthy process, it has been challenged and held up in court.”
The board unanimously passed the caregiver permit ordinance and application fee and sent it on to the planning commission for consideration.
The next planning commission meeting will be in mid-September.