Township set to finalize ordinance for Medical Marijuana facilities

FLINT TWP. — After a second reading at its March 19 meeting, the township board will consider adoption of its Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing ordinance.

The ordinance aims to bring the township into compliance with new state laws but also to establish where and what facilities can operate in the township.

It is to provide “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.”

Further, the ordinance sets an annual, nonrefundable fee of up to $5,000 to help defray administrative and enforcement costs associated with operation of such facilities within the township.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said the ordinance had been reviewed by the township attorney and after some tweaks to the final draft, will be presented next week to the board for adoption.

The ordinance is in compliance with the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act set forth by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in Lansing, which has rewritten laws for growing and selling marijuana in Michigan.

Miller commended Tracey Tucker, township building director, who worked with the township attorney and others on writing the ordinance within a 90-day time limit, “a short amount of time.”

Tucker provided the board with reference materials from a study in Colorado showing the impact of marijuana facilities on the community.

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

“As of the effective date of the ordinance, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substance Act”, which makes it unlawful to possess, manufacture, distribute or dispense marijuana or process it, except in accordance with state laws.

Authorized activity or licensing, under the ordinance, will not supersede federal or state law in reference to growing, selling and distributing marijuana in any form, the ordinance states.

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.

After adoption, the ordinance becomes effective after its second publication set for March 22.

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