Source: Sherman Publications

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Banning MM dispensaries subject of Feb. 14 hearing

February 01, 2012

A public hearing on proposed ordinance language that would effectively ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the Village of Oxford will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 within the council chambers at 22 W. Burdick St.

The village council is considering adopting an amendment to its zoning ordinance that states "Uses for enterprises or purposes that are contrary to federal, state, local laws or ordinances are hereby expressly prohibited. This Ordinance amendment is to be given immediate effect to promote the health, safety and welfare of the community."

The proposed language is modeled after an ordinance amendment passed by the City of Livonia in fall 2009.

Under such ordinance language, medical marijuana dispensaries businesses and other facilities that distribute or sell medical marijuana to qualified patients would not be permitted because under existing federal law, the use of marijuana for any reason is illegal. There is no federal exception for medical marijuana.

The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has a "high potential for abuse" and it "has no currently accepted medical use in treatment." That's why doctors cannot prescribe medical marijuana and pharmacists cannot dispense it.

In August 2011, the three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that dispensaries are a "public nuisance" and not authorized by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which was approved by 63 percent of Michigan voters in November 2008.

The court ruled that any business that receives money in order to facilitate the transfer of medical marijuana is operating for a purpose other than to alleviate patients' debilitating medical conditions and is therefore not protected by state law.

An application to appeal this decision to the Michigan Supreme Court was filed last fall. It's still pending.

Editor C.J. Carnacchio