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Favorable reception for draft MM ordinance

February 16, 2011 - Addison Township is one step closer to having a medical marihuana ordinance in place.

A first draft of the township's medical marihuana ordinance was discussed at the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Based upon comments from planning commission members, the initial draft was a big success.

The township drafted the ordinance to permit and regulate medical marihuana cultivation, use and distribution.

The ordinance was designed to "protect any patient caregiver confidential relationship and reasonably regulate in the public interest the statutory authority for the limited cultivation, distribution and use of marihuana for medical purposes."

Addison Township Planning Consultant Rand Bowman said the ordinance was a general ordinance, not a building ordinance, with the main emphasis being licensed locations for caregivers and on site inspections to "make sure that public health, safety and general welfare concerns remained addressed throughout the entire operation."

A license from Addison Township would only be good for one year and is renewable subject to an annual fee, an annual inspection of the facility and compliance with the ordinance.

The ordinance states a licensed medical marihuana cultivating and distribution location must not be in a personal residence of a patient where marihuana is cultivated or used for personal consumption.

An individual applying for a license must provide the individual acting as the township's medical marihuana officer an address and legal description of the premises where possession, cultivation, distribution or other assistance of medical marihuana would be happening.

Knowing the exact location of each medical marihuana facility eased the mind of Commissioner Joe Schnur.

"You have to have someone knowledgable to tell the authorities to check that house," he said. "You have to know where that house is, and this covers it...we know whether that house is a legitimate caretaker or whether the person is making it for himself and he is selling it."

The township would license a location to a individual to cultivate marihuana and act as a caregiver only if they meet the requirements established in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

A licensed caregiver may only distribute medical marihuana on a confidential, one-on-one basis and must not have another caregiver or another patient present at the same time.

In addition, locations must not be within 1,000 feet of schools or within 1,000 feet of another site that is either cultivating marihuana or assisting in the use of marihuana, according to the ordinance.

It also states only one caregiver is allowed to cultivate marihuana per location, and only five individuals other than the licensed caregiver may be assisted at a location.

Only 12 marihuana plants per patient may be cultivated at one time per location, with a max being 60 plants at a single location. An additional 12 plants may be cultivated if the assisting caregiver is also a patient and "has not designated a caregiver to assist in providing medical marihuana."

Additionally, if a person if cultivating medical marihuana at a personal residence for his/her personal use, only 12 marihuana plants can be cultivated at one time.

The ordinance does not allow for other food or products to be sold from a location that distributes the medical marihuana.

Bowman added the ordinance does not allow for commercial sale of marihuana or a transferable license.

"My first comment is that the ordinance is about three times as long as the state law," Planning Commission Chairperson Lawrence Smith said. "So I guess we have a lot of things covered."

The only area that was not covered in the initial draft of the ordinance was the violation section, which Bowman wanted to refer to the Township's legal council for the section's wording.

He added the ordinance was a very "conservative approach" because the township had not dealt with the issue of medical marihuana before.

Schnur said the initial draft was one of the best medical marihuana ordinances he has seen.

Secretary Carol Beens agreed. "It is very comprehensive and I can't think of anything as far as the law is concerned to go against it," she said.

The planning commission will receive a final copy of the ordinance after township administration and attorney review the initial draft.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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