Ferndale Council Reverses Prior Vote, Turns Away Medical Marijuana Act Grant Funds

Summerfest2016 TOPFerndale MBREW draft oneCouncil Reverses Prior Vote, Turns Away Medical Marijuana Act Grant Funds

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 25, 2016)

Ferndale, MI – After unanimously voting to become a sub-grantee of a grant from LARA to The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, Ferndale City Council revisited the issue with a 3-1 vote to decline up to $5,000 of grant money from medical marijuana act fees.

The money is collected by the State of Michigan from medical marijuana patient cardholders as a fee that is used for administration of the act.  The statelisa schmidt law recently made the money available to counties to help cover the cost of enforcement of the act.

Oakland County is making funds available to the 15 municipalities that participate on the Narcotics Enforcement Team if they chose to accept it.  NET conducts investigations and arrests for all types of drugs, from marijuana to heroin and meth as well as illegal trafficking of prescription narcotics.  Royal Oak Commissioners voted to accept the grant for their community.

Former Mayor Craig Covey, who is running for Oakland County Sheriff, gave his comments at Monday night’s meeting. He and other legalization supporters urged council members to change their mind about accepting the money.level_one_ad01

“These funds come from patients and I want people to understand that,” Covey said.  He reminded council of the raid on Clinical Relief in 2010, a dispensary that had opened with city council’s approval that was then raided.

Covey listed items from the Oakland County grant including sting operations, vehicles, evidence bags, and bulletproof vests.

Ferndale’s portion of the grant was limited to overtime hours for the Ferndale officer who serves on NET.

Councilperson Dan Martin made the motion to reconsider the July 19vote.  “The county’s gonna do what the county’s gonna do and it’s nice of them to offer us money but in this narrow specific instance my heart’s telling me to say no,” he said.

Council members Greg Pawlica and Raylon Leaks-May both  decided against Summerfest2016 TALLaccepting the money.

“Our community as a whole has legalized.  To accept funds that are being used to arrest people for something we considered legal even if it may be in Clawson or Pontiac, I still have an issue with it,” Pawlica said.

Mayor Dave Coulter was not in attendance due to being out of state.  Mayor Pro Tem Melanie Piana renewed her stance on accepting the grant money and cast the only vote against the reversal.

The grant money will remain in the pool for the Sheriff’s Department to distribute among the remaining communities that accept it.

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