(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 3, 3017)
Holly, MI – Should Holly allow medical marijuana businesses? That’s a topic currently being discussed both in Holly Township and in the Village of Holly following recent changes to state law that give communities the chance to allow different types of businesses related to the medical marijuana industry.
The law allows five different types of businesses, and communities could decide to allow all, some or none of the choice: growers, manufactures/processors, distributors/dispensaries, transportation and testing facilities.
The ban only affects commercial businesses – not individuals and caregivers who currently grow or consume in their homes.
Township Planner Mike Deem presented background on the legislation. “It’s written to be opt-in, meaning communities have to specifically pass ordinances to allow the medical marijuana businesses. It is intended that if you do not pass an ordinance, these types of businesses would not be allowed. But we believe that someone is going to take that to court. Someone is going to challenge it and someplace is going to be the test case,” Deem said. “Our concern is that in our ordinances if someone wants to open a business and a use in zoning is not listed, you have to treat it as a similar zoning type. For example, a grower might argue that the rules for agriculture should apply. One community will be the test for that.”
The commission voted unanimously to recommend the ban, which will be considered by the Township Board at a future meeting, possibly May 17.
When asked about his decision, Planning Commission member Tony Engelberg said “After considering crime statistics, actions of neighboring municipalities, public input I felt that Holly Township is not an appropriate location for a commercial Medical Marijuana venture. It is important for the public to understand that caregivers, and all of the rights and responsibilities that go with it are not going to be impacted, and will be allowed to continue.”
Deem also said several times in the meeting that the ban would not impact caregivers and patients. “This is dealing with commercial, large-scale operations. You’re talking 500, 1000 and 1,500 plants.”
The Village of Holly is considering multiple sides of the issue, with a work study session planned for June 13 at 7pm.
“When the old law was ruled not valid and the new law was introduced we rescinded our prior zoning ordinance that allowed dispensaries in certain areas. We have scheduled a study session on June 13th at which time ROWE Professional Services will provide an overview of the new law. We also expect to have some public comment from the community as well as some cannabis support advocates,” said Village Supervisor Jerry Walker.
“I am pro medical marijuana,” said Village President Jim Perkins. “CBD and CBN have been shown to kill cancer cells. It has so many benefits for many different aliments. The matter has to be open for the public to weigh in. I understand that the other side thinks that the crime rate will increase, but if it is well regulated I think that it would help a lot of people in need.”
In 2013 Holly’s only dispensary, Well Greens, was raided by Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team and subsequently closed.