Marijuana moratorium in Springfield
November 24, 2010 - Chalk up one more on the medical-marijuana moratorium list.
Springfield Township Board voiced unanimously support for a moratorium on any request to open a marijuana dispensary .
Trustees considered three options at their Nov. 11 meeting, zoning ordinance regulation, outright ban, and moratorium.
"We're getting inquiries – a couple people came in to ask about opening a dispensary," said Supervisor Mike Trout. "At this point, we couldn't say anything except it's not allowed under federal law – we don't want to let it fall by the wayside and then be forced to make a decision hastily."
The moratorium would give township planning commision time to consider a zoning ordinance amendment, said Trustee Dennis Vallad.
"The legislature can't do anything right now – this is an undefined environment," Vallad said.
"I think we need to do something," said Trustee Judy Hensler. "A moratorium is most prudent."
Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak, Southfield, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City already adopted moratoriums.
"It will allow time to evaluate what's going on in other communities as the township prepares its next course of action," said Trustee Roger Lamont.
"I don't think we can do nothing," agreed Trustee David Hopper. "It's too early for a zoning ordinance. A moratorium is a reasonable alternative."
Township attorney Greg Need will prepare a moratorium resolution for the township board's next meeting, Dec. 9.
"Nothing has been tested yet," Need said. "It will probably go to court, up to the Supreme Court – that will take a great deal of time."
As voter-initiated legislation, a two-third vote of the state legislature is needed to amend it.
In November 2008, voters approved the citizen-initiated law Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, passed by 63 percent of Michigan voters. By doing so, Michigan became the thirteenth state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
In Springfield Township, voters approved the law, with 4,839 voting yes, 62.41 percent, and 2,915 voting no, 37.59 percent.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.