(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 16, 2017)
Holly, MI – The Village of Holly Council heard a presentation Tuesday about what new laws mean for municipalities that chose to opt in or opt out of allowing medical marijuana businesses, but no vote has been taken yet. Instead there will be an opportunity next month for those who wish to speak on the issue to share their views.
“There is no hurry on making the decision,” said Village Manager Jerry Walker. “We want as much public input as possible since this does affect everyone.”
Jack Wheatley, a project manager with Rowe Engineering, gave a presentation about the most recent changes to Michigan law which basically mean that communities can permit up to five types of medical marijuana businesses or they can chose not to allow any.
The business types are: growers, manufactures/processors, distributors/dispensaries, transportation and testing facilities.
There are requirements by the state for each type of business, and municipalities can also impose regulations such as requiring special permits, lighting and possibly hours and signage.
Communities can pass ordinances to opt-in. They can pass ordinances to opt-out. Or if they do not pass any ordinance there is debate as to whether they will remain marijuana-related businesss-free or if businesses might argue they have the right to open based on other codes. Because of this risk several communities, including Holly Township, passed bans on those types of businesses to specifically solidify that they are not permitted.
In the Village of Holly there are people on both sides of the issue, with several speaking at Council as well as discussions taking place on social media.
Among the proponents is legal representative Adrianne Grant who said she represents “a local family” interested in opening a grow operation. “We want to put together a growing facility that is definitely going to adhere to the law and I like to think over and above what the state standards would be,” she said. “So before you shoot it down you have to consider that there are people that live in the community that are interested in bringing this type of facility here in order to employ and help people that live here.”
Councilperson Bob Alsop said he is “100% against it.”
“I think it’s part of drugs. It might help people but if some older person gets the drugs, gives it to their kids, why do we need this in Holly?” Alsop said. “I live here and I have my family, my grandkids live here and my son died from drugs… Drugs bring bad people into town.”
Councilperson Dave Cruickshank interrupted some banter to call for a more civil discussion. “We need to make sure we’re not being malicious,” he said. “This is something that’s statewide, countrywide, worldwide issue that’s being revolved around and we need to be above board on everything.”
Village Manager Walker asked that anyone interested in speaking at the July 11, 2017 meeting contact his office at (248) 634- 9571.
The discussion is expected to continue at the June 27 Village Council meeting, which begins at 7pm at the Carl Richter Center, 300 East St in Holly.
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